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I R 1022 L 



IV 8. O. HBI9KEL.I- 

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Contents Volume 2 

Chaptbr 1. Hugh Lawson White Declares Himself Politically 
Independent — Speeches — Comparison with Theodore Roose- 
velt — Letter to Lyman C. Draper — Nancy Scott, His Biogra- 
pher. -- 1-29 

Chapter 2. Hugh Lawson White — The Expunging Resolution — 
Willing to become a Candidate for President — Letters to 

Friends - 30-46 

Cedu>tbr 3. Hugh Lawson White— The State of Franklin— Resig- 
nation from the Senate — Death — Opinions of Judge White from 

Thomas H. Benton, Henry A. Wise and Henry S. Foote 47-63 

Chaptbr 4. John Reid, Aide and Military Secretary to Jackson — 

His Letters from Indian Wars and Battle of New Orleans 64-82 

Chapter 5. John Haywood and J. G. M. Ramsey. Historians of 
Tennessee— Haywood's History and Career— Ramsey's 

Annals and Autobiography .- --. 83-104 

Chapter 6. Ramsey's Autobiography, Continued — He Accepts 
Amnesty from President Andrew Johnson^^John Howard 
Payne Visits Mecklenburg— Writes the "Lament of the Chero- 
kee" — ^Two Letters from Andrew Jackson to Dr. Ramsey — His 

Memoirs of Tennessee 105-122 

Chapter 7. Memphis - 123-144 

Chapter 8. Sam Houston— Chronology - 145-146 

Chapter 9. Sam Houston— History. __ -.. 147-166 

Chapter 10. Jackson, Houston and Texas 167-190 

Chapter 11. James Knox Polk, Sarah Childress Polk— Chro- 
nology .. - - 191-192 

Chapter 12. James Knox Polk and Wife, Sarah Childress Polk.., 193-211 
Chapter 13. James Knox Polk, Political History— Nomination for 
the Presidency at Baltimore Convention of 1844 — Bancroft's 
Letter on the Nomination — ^Jeremiah George Harris — Col. 

EzckielPolk 212-240 

Chapter 14. James Knox Polk— Whigs in Election of 1844— John 

Tyler Election of 1844 241-260 

Chapter 15. James Knox Polk— What is a Great Man— Polk's 

Diary— Return to Nashville— Death .,,.,, ., 261-299 


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iv Contents Volume 2. 


Chapter 16. James Knox Polk — ^Eleven Letters Connected with 
Nomination and Election for President — Speech at Nashville 
on His Election — Letter to Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey Declaring he 
will Not be Candidate for Re-election 300-315 

Chapter 17. Andrew Jackson — The Hermitage and President 

Roosevelt's Visit and Speech.^. 316-333 

Chapter 18. Andrew Jackson — The Hermitage and Relics of 

Jackson _._ _ 334-355 

Chapter 19. Andrew Jackson — Presentation [of his Sword to 

Congress _ _ 356-374 

Chapter 20. Andrew Jackson — Two Administrations as Presi- 
dent—Will, Sarcophagus and Death 375-391 

Chapter 2 1 . Andrew Jackson— Husband, Father and Friend 392-409 

Chapter 22. Andrew Jackson — Grand-daughter, Mrs. Rachel 

Jackson Lawrence 410-435 

Chapter 23. Andrew Jackson — Deed to Thomas Gallaher — 
Roane's Casting Vote for Major General — The Roane Monu- 
ment Unveiling — Peter Cartwright — ^John Rhea — Examples of 
Pioneer Justice — Venom of Elections -. 436-460 

Chapter 24. Andrew Jackson — Unveiling of Equestrian Statue at 
Nashville — Speech of Congressman John F. House — Statue Du- 
plicate of the one in Washington, D. C 461-481 

Chapter 25. Battle of King's Mountain — Address by Bishop E. 

E. Hoss _ 482-502 

Chapter 26. John Sevier's Diary — Its Authenticity — Congress- 
man — Address to Cherokees — Expedition Against' Indians — 
Governor — Salute of Sixteen Cannon Discharge 503-539 

Chapter 27. John Sevier's Diary, Continued — Cumberland Coun- 
try — Visited by Orleans Princes — Ball at Judge McNairy's — 
Daughter Ruth Marries Captain Sparks — Moves to Knoxville 
— Attended with Major Claiborne Treaty with Cherokees at 
Tellico— Re-elected Governor _ 540-573 

Chapter 28. John Sevier's Diary, Continued— Finished Burning 
Brick for Residence — Attends Funeral of Governor William 
Blount — Attendance at Meeting of Commissioners of Line be- 
tween Virginia and Tennessee — Conference at South West 
Point with Cherokees about Road through their Country — 
Gold Medal from Secretary of Navy — Takes Seat in Congress — 
Life in Washington — Starts for Alabama to run Creek Boundary 
Line _ 574-614 

Chapter 29. Andrew Jackson— Results Arising From His Death— Oration 
of George Bancroft, Secretary of the Navy, June 27, 1845, at Wash- 
ington, D. C _ 615-633 

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• Pagb 

Major John Reid 64 

Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey _ 86 

Jtmction of Tennessee and French Broad Rivers 105 

Tennessee River from Knoxville Country Club _ 117 

Judge John Overton 123 

General Sam Houston. _ 145 

Cherokee Ball Player 163 

General Sam Houston 167 

Tomb of Sam Houston _.. _.. 179 

James K. Polk 191 

Tomb of James K. Polk _ _ 200 

James K. Polk _ 212 

Henry Clay 242 

Henry Clay's Monument __1 243 

Ashland, Henry Clay's Home. _ 245 

John Tyler _. 248 

James K. Polk and Mrs. Polk 262 

Tennessee River, Four Miles Above Knoxville.'. 272 

James K. Polk 300 

Mrs. James K. Polk 300 

The Hermitage—Entrance Hall 316 

The Hermitage — Dining Room 324 

The Hermitage— Parlor 337 

The Hermitage— Jackson's Bed Room.. _ _ 339 

The Hermitage— Jackson's Tomb 354 

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Illustrations op Volume 2 


United States Senate in Session _ 356 

Senator Thomas H. Benton 369 

Doe River, Upper East Tennessee 375 

Andrew Jackson, Jr.,* and Mrs. Jackson 392 

CoL Andrew Jackson, III 410 

Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence 410 

Monument to Archibald Roane 441 

Congressman John Rhea 447 

Jackson's Statue at Nashville 461 

Bishop E. E. Hoss 482 

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By an error Chapters 36 and 37 on Hugh Lawson White were 
printed in the i&rst volume, but were intended to precede Chapters 
38, 39 and 40, and to begin the second volume, where the reader 
could have everything in reference to Judge White before him al- 

The manuscript for these five chapters was submitted to Major 
T. S. Webb, of the Knoxville Bar, whose wife was a great-niece of 
Judge White, and also to Judge Hugh Lawson McClung, of Knox- 
ville, formerly Chancellor of the Knoxville Chancery Division, and 
a gr^at-nephew of White. 

When these five chapters were written I felt that no man ever 
lived in America, the revival of whose memory would be worth more 
to the American people at this time than the revival of the memory 
of this Tennessee Cato, with his simple virtues, his immaculate 
honor and his patriotism which was as fervid as Washington's and 
as fixed as the everlasting hills. Since writing those chapters I 
have been more impressed in studying existing conditions in the 
United States and comparing them with Judge White's character. 
Every fundamental principle that enters into the make-up of a 
great and good man was his, and even hostile scrutiny was never 
able to find a weak joint in the armor of a long and often severely 
tried life. At this writing the outlook over the American 
people is decidedly unpleasant, not to say alarming, even re- 
volting. Never before in our history have our people seemed so 
devoid of friendly fellowship for each other. We boast that we 
entered the European War *'to make the world safe for Democracy" 
and our contributions of men, money and war supplies for that 
stupendous contest, entitle us to the highest honors in the victory. 
But when it was over and peace came, we proceeded and are trying 
now each to build a fortime at the expense of every one else; each 


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viii Preface 

laboring to get richer and richer even though everyone else grows 
poorer and poorer ; each desperately attempting to empty the money 
contents of his neighbor's pocket into his own. The Golden Rule 
and all semblance of it seems to be banished from the land. 

How marvelously different from this degeneracy of mind, heart 
and pocketbook, is the dear, pure splendor of Judge White's lif6 
and character! How perfectly would his principles apply to ex- 
isting conditions in solving our problems and lifting us from the 
mire we are now in! How quickly and thoroughly would his per- 
fect sense of justice eliminate that domination of low and un- 
scrupulous selfishness which abotmd! What a moral lighthouse 
would shine and how glorious would be its radiance, if the story 
of his life were told over this broad land! What a political 
illumination would take place if every politician would follow in 
his footsteps! 

It is for reasons like these I have thought that, as far as could 
be done in the space allotted him in these volumes, the record of 
Hugh Lawson White's life should be set out to the end that that 
record might contribute to the healing of the nation. 

May 22, 1920. S. G. HEISKELL. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 1 


Hugh Lawson White — Declares Himself Politically 

Independent — Speeches — Comparison with 

Theodore Roosevelt — Letter to Lymcui 

C. Draper — Nancy Scott, 

His Biographer. 


Judge White's differences with Andrew Jackson originated 
in Jackson's selection of Martin Van Buren to be his successor 
in the presidency. White was unalterably opposed to Van Buren, 
and thereby hangs a long historical tale. Jackson's personal 
friends and followers charged that White Was jealous of Van 
Biu^n and attributed the split with Jackson to unworthy motives. 
The modem student feels that the charge of jealousy might be 
conceded, and still there be nothing to the discredit of White. 
White and Jackson had been lifelong friends and as intimate 
probably as two public men ever were, and that, too, notwith- 
standing the radical differences in the mental, moral and physical 
make-up of the two. In all of Jackson's troubles White had been 
his loyal supporter. White was the intellectual peer of Van 
Buren, and, in point of character, was Van Buren's superior. 
Van Buren was a typical New York politician. White had old- 
fashioned ideas about consistency, honor, duty, conscience, and 
life generally, and these old-fashioned views were the ideals of 

The student naturally asks, **Why shouldn't White expect 
to be the successor of Jackson?" They were from the same 
State and State pride might suggest that Tennessee have two 
Presidents, one following the other. If White wanted to succeed 
Jackson, as was charged, he had ground to feel aggrieved that 
his lifelong friend, to whom he had been so loyal, was adverse. 

The breach between the two by no means widened all at once. 
It was a matter of the growth of several years, and it was not 
until April 6, 1834, that White declared his political independence, 

1— vol2 

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2 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

and, curiously enough, admitted that independence in politics 
usually brings diminished power and influence. 

This declaration by White came about through a letter written 
by Condy Raguet, who addressed a letter to him on March 
28, 1834, cautiously insinuating that he should be a candidate 
for President. In the postscript of Raguet's letter appeared this 
sentence: **There are two parties here, one of which would do 
SLnything to put General Jackson down, another anything to 
sustain him. But there is a third party, and a very large one, 
who care not a straw about who is President, but who anxiously 
desire to see some measure of relief in the country, let it operate 
against or in favor of whom it may." To this letter Judge White 
made reply on April 6, 1834, in the following letter: 


**Dear Sir: — Yoiu* letter dated 29th ult., and the project 
which accompanied it, reached me in due course of the mail. 
Other duties have prevented my answer at an earlier day. I 
feel gratified that my course has been such as to be approved by 
one whom I think so well qualified to form correct opinions in 
everything which related to the fundamental principles of our 

*' Nothing could give me more pleasure than to be the instru- 
ment of doing something which would be of lasting benefit to 
the people whose interests are liable to be affected by my public 
conduct. But I feel too little confidence in my own abilities, 
and am sure that my hold upon public opinion is too slender 
to permit the hope that this can ever be effected by venturing 
to become a leader. I do not carry on political or friendly cor- 
respondence with any man living. I have a cordial dislike for 
everything like contrivance, by which to put or keep any man 
or set of men in power. Thus you will see my coiuse is too 
individual for me to be useful on a large scale. My whole aim 
and ambition is to fix in my own mind the political principles 
which in my own opinion best accord with the Constitution, and 
then to give them such practical effect as will be productive of 
the most good." 


Judge White entered the United States Senate at the age of 
fifty-two. He was a democrat of the Jeff ersonian school, and con- 
sistently adhered to its faith to the day of his death. Down to 
the time when he differed with Jackson on Van Buren as the 
presidential successor, he supported Jackson throughout. He 
was against the United States Bank, against internal improve- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 3 

ment by the general government, in favor of the removal of the 
Indians west of the Mississippi. On internal improvements, 
his position was that the building of roads and canals through 
the States was the function of the States and not of the general 
government. His speeches against the U. S. Bank were among 
the ablest delivered on that side, and it is only just to him to say 
that in financial and Indian matters, General Jackson followed 
the lead of the Tennessee Senator. 

white's knoxvii^le speech. 

Judge White made a speech in Knoxville in August, 1836, 
at a public dinner, which sets forth fully his political principles 
and reasons for his public actions. We reproduce this speech 
in full. 

The sentiment introducing him was this: 

''Our distinguished guest and neighbor, the Hon. Hugh Law- 
son White: — ^His public career has been no less conspicuous for its 
consistency, independence and usefulness, than his private life 
for its propriety, piu'ity, and uprightness. Malevolence and per- 
secution cannot prostrate him. Tennessee will sustain him firmly 
and fearlessly against the slanders of malice and the magic of the 
influential name. 

Judge White said : 

''Gentlemen: The sentiment just given, and the feelings with 
which it has been received, encourage me to do sometting more 
than make my acknowledgments for your undeviating support, 
and continued confidence. 

"After an absence of almost nine months, seven of which 
were devoted to my duties in Congress, upon my return home, to 
find my neighbors, the people of my own country, ready to greet 
me as a friend, and to declare in the face of the world, that my 
character as a private citizen does not deserve reproach, and that 
my conduct as a public man meets their approbation, is a soinrce 
of the highest gratification. More especially when I reflect 
how incessantly I have been assailed, and with how much industry 
the vilest slanders have been circulated, imder the sanction of 
names, some of which I know are, and long have been, very dear 
to you as well as to the great majority of my fellow-citizens. 

"For eleven years I have, in part, represented Tennessee in 
the Senate of the United States. Until the two last, my services, 
humble as they were, appeared to be acceptable to the great 
body of the people. Any complaints against me were made, 
comparatively, by a few, and they were of fliose decidedly opposed 
to the present Chief Magistrate and his administration. 

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4 Andrew Jackson and Eari<y Tbnnbssbb History 

'*Now the matter has changed, and I have been violently assail- 
ed by some of those with whom I have formerly acted, and several 
of those who were my bitter opponents on account of my attach- 
ment to the Chief Magistrate, have become his zealous friends, 
while they still continue their hostility to me. Having resided in 
the State from my boyhood, and having, from the time I attained 
the year of discretion, been busy among the people in some capacity 
or other, I believe a large and overwhelming majority of oiu: fellow- 
citizens were decidedly Jeffersonian RepubUcans, and belonging 
to that school of poUtidans myself, when honored with a seat in 
the Senate, I flattered myself that upon all important questions, 
when I honestly carried out, in practice, my own political opinions, 
I would also faithfully represent the opinions of my constituents. 
I have neither solicited nor desired the berth, and could not have 
been induced to accept it, if a sacrifice of any of my principles 
had been required. At one period, domestic aflflictions visited 
me in such rapid succession, and with such weight, that I had 
made up my mind to withdraw, and let my place be suppUed by 
some one whose mind would not be doomed to brood so much 
over his own misfortunes; but abandoned the idea at the earnest 
solicitation of some, whom I, childishly, then thought my friends, 
and who are now under the hypocritical pretense of continued 
friendship, my most deadly enemies. 

**In the great struggle to bring the present Chief Magistrate 
into office, it became necessary that his friends should proclaim 
and enforce, by all the arguments they could advance, their polit- 
ical principles; and what were they? 

**lst. All useless expenditures of the public moneys should 
be discontinued. 

**2nd. All offices should be filled by men who were honest, 
capable, faithful to the Constitution, and of business habits. 

"3rd. That neither Congress nor any department of the 
federal government had any power except that which was ex- 
pressly granted by the Constitution, or was necessary and proper 
to carry into efiFect some power which was expressly granted. 

"4th. That the Executive power should be so limited and regu- 
lated by law, that neither the President nor any ofiicer appointed 
by, or dependent upon him, could use his influence or power to 
control or guide public opinion in elections. 

"5th. That the Constitution should be so amended as to 
secure to the people the right of choosing the Chief Magistrate 
themselves. That the same person should not be elected for a 
second term, and that offices should not be filled with members 
of Congress. 

"6th. That all surplus moneys which might accumulate in 
the treasiuy, beyond the reasonable wants of the federal govern- 
ment, should be divided among the States by some fair ratio, 
to the end that the people, to whom it rightfully belonged, might 
have the benefit of it for internal improvements, education, etc. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnessbb History 5 

•*7th. That all caucuses or combinations of men, whose 
object it was to create or control public opinion in the election 
of President and Vice-President, should be discountenanced and 
put down. 

"These were the great and leading principles for which we, 
in common with others, contended. The public voice sanctioned 
them by the election of the Chief Magistrate in 1828. In his 
inaugural address in 1829, and in his subsequent addresses, he 
avowed and proclaimed several of them. 

"They are the very doctrines on which I have practiced 
from that day to this, so far as my humble capacity enabled me; 
and I now challenge my persecutors to put their fingers on the 
cases in which I have departed from them. 

"How then has it happened, that for the last eighteen months, 
or two years, my humble name has, in a certain set of newspapers, 
and among a certain clan of politicians, been constantly coupled 
with some degrading charge? 

"Upon this subject, I can, perhaps, give you some facts not 
heretofore generally known, and this I shall do, not for the pur- 
pose of injuring any one, but for the sake of making a just defense 
of myself. 

"The General Assembly of this State sat in Nashville in the 
fall of 1833. At the commencement of its session, as is my habit, 
I was there. While there the news reached us that the deposits 
of the public moneys had been removed by the order of the Presi- 
dent, from the bank of the United States. I immediately fore- 
saw that this would produce a violent effort in Congress to put 
down the Administration. I ascertained that there was a wish 
among the members, before the session closed, to present my • 
humble name to the people of the United States, as a suitable 
person to succeed the present Chief Magistrate. To every 
member with whom I conversed, and to every person who addressed 
me on the subject, I used all the arguments in my power to pre- 
vent them from doing so; and with some that I could take most 
liberty with, when coming away, left it in charge, that should 
a nomination be attempted in my absence, to have it prevented. 

"At the close of the session one of those gentlemen wrote me, 
that he was censured as unfriendly for not concurring in the plan 
of a nomination. I immediately answered his letter, assiuing 
him he had not only acted in conformity with my wishes, but in 
accordance with my request, and that so siwe was I that such a 
nomination would have weakened the President in Congress, 
that, if it had been made, I would have held myself bound to 
withhold my assent. 

"In the spring of 1834, I received communications from differ- 
ent quarters upon the same subject, proposing that if it met my 
approbation, there would be meetings of the people to nominate 
me. To this com-se I gave no encouragement. During that year 
the President visited Tennessee, our convention was in session, 

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6 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

and after their rise, I was informed that some of the members 
had wished to nominate me, but had abandoned the attempt after 
they had ascertained it would incur his displeasure. On his 
journey to Washington, he conversed freely with some of my 
friends, and remonstrated against any attempt to nominate me 
as President, said that there must be a national convention, 
that Mr. Van Buren ought to be nominated as President, I, as 
Vice President, and when his eight years were expired, I was 
young enough then to be taken up as President. All this was 
communicated to me, and the only answer that I could make was 
that either office was beyond my merits, but that I could not 
enter into any arrangement which would operate as a lure to 
induce any person to vote for myself, or, for any other person 
contrary to his judgment. Thus the matter stood when the ses- 
sion of Congress commenced in December 1834. Dining that 
winter many county meetings were held, at which my name was 
brought before the public, as well as by the Legislature of Ala- 

**Under a full belief that a system was being put in operation, 
which would destroy the freedom of election, which was intended 
to transfer all federal power into certain hands, who, by the like 
process, would transfer it into the hands of others at their pleas- 
m-e, and that the efiFect of this would be to give the operations 
of the government such a direction as would favor the interests 
of one class of citizens, at an entire sacrifice of the interests of 
all others, I consented that my political friends might use my 
name, or not, as they believed would most promote the pubhc 

**In this I might have erred; but if I did it was an honest 

** After giving this consent, and before the Baltimore Con- 
vention, I was repeatedly forewarned what I might expect if my 
name was not withdrawn. These threats carried no terrors 
to me. Whatever of character I have was given to me by my 
coimtry, and whenever it becomes necessary to risk the whole 
of it in defense of those principles which I think essential to the 
preservation of liberty, I willingly stake it all. I feel that I was 
not intended to be tie slave of any man or set of men, that I 
have some mind, and that the author of my existence intended 
that I should exercise it, that I should form opinions as to politics 
and religion, and freely and fearlessly act upon them, without 
being intimidated by what either man or devils can do. Could 
I have hesitated for one moment in 'my course, I would have 
fancied that I heard myself addressed from the tombs in yonder 
churchyard (pointing to the place where his father and mother 
are buried), in language like this: *My son, remember that the 
same principles are now involved which were proclaimed in July, 
1776. That to maintain them, I risked my life, and everything 
dear to man, that after struggling through a seven years' war, 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 7 

with my compatriots in arms, we succeeded in the establishment 
of a free government; under it I lived happy, prosperous, and died 
without leaving a spot upon my name that good name, and that 
free government I left my children as an invaluable inheritance; 
and is it possible that, for the lack of moral courage, you will 
deprive yourself and your children of those blessings for which 
I toiled so long, and risked so much?* If I still doubted, a voice 
still more endearing, if that be possible, would salute my ears in 
accents like these: 'Can you for an instant forget the lessons 
taught by your mother? — ^remember you have not only yoiu: 
father's name in charge, but that you have also that of my family. 
Do you not recollect how I used to encoiurage you and your 
brother to discharge your duty, as my only sentinels to watch 
and warn me when the tories would approach our dwelling for 
plunder, in your father's absence in the tented field? That 
I would then inform you that my family were among the first 
to hoist the pole of liberty in the South, and among the most 
firm and fearless in defending it! And will you, who have not a 
drop of any but Whig blood in your veins hesitate as to the com-se 
you ought to pursue ?' To these questions I could give but one 
answer, 'Fear not for me. The same good name you have trans- 
mitted, and the same rich inheritance shall be left unstained, 
and transmitted tmimpaired to your grand-children.* 

"But to proceed, the Baltimore Convention met, and in due 
form nominated a candidate for the Presidency and Vice-Presi- 
dency, against whom no man has heard me say one word. They 
have accepted the nominations, and I have no doubt, in doing 
so, acted on those principles which they think it right to maintain. 
As to myself, I solemnly declare that with the knowledge I have 
of the manner in which that convention was brought about, the 
object it was intended to accomplish, and the consequence ex- 
pected to flow from it. had I been nominated by it for either 
ofSce, such nomination would have been almost the only con- 
tingency upon which I would have prohibited the use of my 

"Let me not be misunderstood. I am very far from intimat- 
ing it as my opinion that the whole of that assemblage, or a 
majority of them, were either dishonest or dishonorable men. 
Many of them are strangers to me, and I hope were governed by 
worthy motives, and I doubt not believed great good would result 
from their labors. I, on the contrary, think nothing. but evil 
can result from a nomination by a set of men collected imder the 
auspices of the executive, with a view to nominate an individual 
designated by him. 

"Notwithstanding this nomination, my name has been per- 
mitted to remain where it was before placed, and the threatened 
vengeance has been pouring out upon my devoted head ever 
since. 'Tray, Blanche, and Sweetheart, little dogs and dl,' 
have been let loose upon me. I have heeded them not. It has 

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8 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

been my aim to bear any and everything. I have uniformly con- 
formed my public conduct to my avowed principles, and what 
I believe the politics of my State. So far as the Administration 
has acted on the principles, which brought the Chief Magistrate 
into power, I have been, as I think, a uniform and steady, though 
very humble, supporter. If on any point he has changed his 
principles, it is unreasonable to expect me to change vntb. him, 
unless I can be furnished with sufl5cient reasons for such change. 
"Humble as my pretensions are represented to be, we all 
now see, and know*, that my venerable friend, the Chief Magis- 
trate himself, in his own proper person, has openly and in the view 
of the sovereign people themselves, imdertaken to control and regu- 
late public opinion. This is a trouble which I am very sorry he 
had to take on my accoimt. His acts are to live after him. He 
occupies the most dignified station upon earth. If any man 
living did more towards elevatinjg; him to that station than I 
did, it was because he had more influence. He has the efScient 
control of the whole fimd of the nation, the disjposal of oiu- inval- 
uable public domain, the appointment of all officers at home and 
abroad, the power to remove tens of thousands of officers, who have 
no means to prociu^e subsistence for a day if he chooses to remove 
them; they must do as he directs, or be turned loose to starve. 
All this power I zealously strove to give him, and I did so imder 
a thorough conviction that he would only use it in accordance with 
the spirit of the Constitution. That he would follow the wise 
example of Washington, of Jefferson, of Madison, and Monroe. 
That so far from openly interfering in the election of his suc- 
cessor, or encotu'aging any executive officer to do so, he would 
sternly prohibit it in others, and think it a high political and moral 
duty in himself to be perfectly *neutral,* and lest he should 
disdose his preference would *avoid conversing on the subject 
with his most intimate friends.* In this I have been disappointed. 
I have been apprised that for twelve months past he has neither 
been sparing nor backward in his censures of me. It gives me no 
uneasiness. I was willing to bear it all without complaint. My 
only wish was that he might so conduct as to take nothing from 
the high character which in common with others, I had for years 
endeavored to give him. Not content with this he comes to oiu* 
own State, among my own constituents, those in whose employ 
I now am, took a circuitous route through East Tennessee, so 
as to be in many villages, and is still on his tour through West 
Tennessee into North Alabama, op^y denoimdng me as a *'red 
hot Federalist,'* having abandoned his Administration, and being 
as far from him as the poles are asimder, etc. Now with great 
deference to the opinion of that highly esteemed and venerable 
man, I must be allowed to say he is entirely mistaken. I am not 
now and never was a Federalist, in any sense of that term recog- 
nized by or known to the American people. I am now and ever 
have been a Republican of Mr. Jefferson's school, so far as I 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 9 

have been able to comprehend the doctrines taught by him. 
The true way to test this matter is for each of us to put down 
the articles of his political creed, and see in what we disagree. 
I haye given you mine; you and the American people, who have 
taken the trouble to read what I have said, or to notice my re- 
corded votes, know that I have practiced on my professions. 
It is not with me to say whether the Chief Magistrate has prac- 
tised on his or not. If we now disagree in anything, I aver that 
I agree with the Republican creed, and that he will be found on 
that side which leads directly to monarchy, although I hope he 
does not so intend it. 

**It is undoubtedly true that upon one point he and I are 
antipodes, as far apart as the poles are from each other. He 
thinks it an important point of his Administration before his 
time expires, to select his successor, and through the medium of 
a Convention, got up imder his own auspices, to have the person 
thus selected recommended as a suitable condidate, to use all 
his influence and patronage to prociu-e the election of the person 
thus recommendea, and he denoimces every man as a Federalist, 
and as opposed to his Administration, who will not vote for and 
support such person. 

**I disagree with this whole doctrine, and insist it is no part 
of his duty to select his successor, to have him recommended by 
a convention, or to use his influence or patronage to induce or 
coerce persons to vote for him. This is obviously the point of 
disagreement, and I willingly leave to the present generation, 
and to those who are to succeed us, to say wluch of us holds the 
Republican side. 

''Suppose Mr. Adams to be now President, and his term about 
to expire, and he had designated Mr. Clay as his successor, and 
was using all his patronage to induce persons to vote for him, 
and was actually travelling through Massachusetts and elsewhere, 
haranguing the people and denotmcing General Jackson as a red- 
hot federalist, because he would not withdraw his name and vote 
for Mr. Clay. What would be said by our venerable friend in 
such case? 

"With a view to bring this doctrine home to the compre- 
hension of every man, suppose there were now a proposition to 
amend the Constitution, and make it the duty of every President 
before his term expired to select the man in his judgment best 
qualified to succeed him, to have a convention caJled to recom- 
mend such person, and then to use all his patronage and influence 
to have him elected. Is there any one man in America so stupid 
as not to see it would be taking from the people all choice, all 
power in electing their Chief Magistrate, and vesting it in the 
hands of one man? If such an amendment were to prevail, so 
far as the election of President was concerned, we would have to 
all intents and purposes a monarchy. Well: if we can be pre- 
vailed on to think this practice ought to be pursued, without 

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10 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

such an amendment, practically the government is a monarchy, 
because the people will have given up their right of choice and trans- 
ferred it to one man. It is not me alone that is denounced, but 
every friend T have in Congress from the State. They are taken 
up one by one by name and denounced by the President as feder- 
alists, and opponents of his Administration. In what have they 
opposed his Administration? Did they vote against his three 
million session before last? Did they vote against expunging 
the joiunals? Not they. Not one of them. You say they are 
opposed to his Administration because they will not vote for the 
person he has selected as his successor. It is true as to one of them, 
Mr. Huntsman. When the President was asked how he was, 
he said he did not know, he was hanging on the fence, and it was 
doubtful which side he would fall. 

**In justice to the gentleman I must be permitted to state, 
if there be any sincerity in man, he is as much on the Tennesse 
side of the fence ^as any of his colleagues. I have thought it 
right on this occasion to bring this point plainly and distinctly 
to your view that you might every one see the reason why I and 
my friends are denounced as Federalists, opposed to the Adminis- 
tration, and the antipodes of our esteemed and venerable Chief 

"The real offense which I have committed is not the aban- 
donment of my principles, but that I would not abandon them. 
Not because I became the tool of the opposition; but because I 
would not unite with an old and valued friend in doing that, 
under evil and mischievous advisers, which before God I believe, 
would rob the people of that freedom for which our fathers ^perilled 
their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor,* and bring re- 
proach upon our memory when we are nunfbered with the dead. 

"I have no controversy with the Chief Magistrate. I aspire 
to nothing which he wants. If there is any controversy, it is 
between my countrymen, who solicited the use of my name, and 
him. They have solicited me to let my name be used as his suc- 
cessor, and I have consented. This is my whole offense. If 
there be anything wrong in it, who is the cause of it? It is not 
I who am to be put down and disgraced in this controversy if 
Tennessee is either coaxed or coerced to surrender her choice. 
It is the people, who have placed me in the position I now occupy. 
The Saviour of the World, when upon earth, found among the 
small munber of his disciples, one Judas, who not only sold, but 
betrayed him for his thirty pieces of silver. It were vain for one 
of my humble attainments who has nothing to offer but his best 
efforts to promote the public welfare, to hope that all who pro- 
fessed to be his friends would continue to act up to that character. 
Already have I found more than one Judas, who by parting with 
their interest in me have received, or expect to receive, more than 
twice their thirty pieces. I doubt not there may be more who 
will yet do so; but if it is the will of Providence that the use of 

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my name shall be of service to my fellow-men, it will be so ordered 
that in place of such hollow-hearted and false friends, I shall 
receive the aid and support of many honest men, who will desire 
nothing but that the government may be preserved in its piu'ity; 
and if there lives the man who can induce a majority of the 
people of Tennessee to abandon their own princijples, and sacrifice 
an individual, whose name they had placed before the public 
to gratify his wishes, then will I admit that I never understood 
the character of the people among whom I have lived for almost 
fifty-two years. 

**My enemies have made a mistake. They imagine that as I 
have determined not to advocate my own pretensions for the most 
dignified station upon earth, that they may charge me with what 
misconduct they please, in my present station as Senator, and that 
I must remain sUent, or lay myself liable to the charge of inde- 
cency in electioneering. I cannot and will not act on any such 
false delicacy. If I am unjustly accused, if I am charged with 
entertaining principles which do not belong to me, and these 
charges are made to my own constitutents, by a person of the 
highest standing, it is due to you, it is due to the country and 
it is just to myself, that I not only repel the charges, but disclose 
the motives of those who make them. 

"My political friends who have placed my name before the 
public are Jeflfersonian Jackson Republicans, professing and 
practising now, the same creed they professed in 1828. Our 
motto is 'not words but deeds.' We determine to prove oiu- 
*faith in our creed by our practices.' If for this we are to be 
denominated *new-bom Whigs,' we are content. Instead of 
being placed in the company of aliens and strangers, we will 
still be in the embraces and arms of our long-cherished principles. 
'Names are nothing,' said our venerable Chief Magistrate in his 
letter to Mr. Monroe. Dress a tory in the garment of a whig 
and he will be a tory still. As well might we expect to conceal 
the wolf by putting on the covering of the lamb, as to suppose 
that we conceal the conspirator who seeks to deprive the people 
of their right of sufiFrage, by throwing over him the name of a 
*good old Jefferson democratic republican.' 

**A11 political power is vested originally in the great body of 
the people. It all resides there yet, except such portions of it 
as they have vested in their different agents, to be used for their 
benefit. They have reserved to themselves the right freely to 
choose the two highest officers known to the Constitution, in 
that mode pointed out by it. 

"This right is the sure rock upon which the whole super- 
structure rests. Upon it I have planted myself. *The rains of 
slander may descend, the floods of calumny may come, the winds, 
the storms, and the tempests of denunciation may beat upon me,' 
but there will' I remain immoved, until some political earthquake 
shall shiver both it and me to atoms. 

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**In conclusion, permit me to add, that as to our venerable 
and esteemed Chief Magistrate, if in anything I have said there 
is the appearance of un^dness, or want of respect, it was cer- 
tainly not intended. He has assailed me openly for my conduct 
while in your employ. One of the first laws of oiu* nature is self- 
defence. I obey that law as a freeman, whose rights and reputa- 
tion are dear to him. We disagree in opinion on a most important 
subject. At our age, and every circumstance considered, it be- 
comes us both to disagree in opinion, in good temper. In times ' 
past he had had his troubles, and in them he never was without 
a friend to justify or excuse his conduct when I was present. 
He has decreed that we shall separate, or I surrender that free- 
dom for which my father fought. The first is the only alterna- 
tive for a man determined to preserve his self-respect. He and 
I are poorly employed, if we lose our temper about human govern- 
ments. In the course of nature they must soon cease to have any 
operation upon either of us. We must soon appear before a tribunal 
where the Judge himself will be the only witness. He cannot be 
misled as to our acts or our motives; and my prayer is, that 
instead of applying the rules of strict justice to either, our errors, 
vices and infirmities may find forgiveness in His mercy. 

*'If thanks from the fullness of a grateful heart would avail 
you anything for your imshaken confidence and steady support 
under every change and vicissitude of life, I would put them 
out as long as my strength would permit; but I feel that I have 
detained you already too long. I offer you the following senti- 
ment, in which I know you will cheerfully unite. 

*Tractices, not professions: The Republicans of Tennessee 
are now what they were in 1828, Jacksonians, following the creed 
of that Apostle of Liberty, Thomas Jefferson. Should this 
entitle them to a 'New-bom' name they care not; provided they 
are left in the full enioyment of their inalienable right of suffrage. 
'I'hey would rather have even a bad name with good principles, 
than bad principles concealed under a good name." 

The election came on. White was defeated, but carried Ten- 
nessee by a 10,000 majority, and the State of Georgia, and on 
August 1, 1838, at KLnoxville, he made a speech to his constitu- 
ents which demonstrates his feelings at the time. His comparison 
m this speech of Van Buren to a '^miserable lizard" is the only 
instance the author has been able to find of extreme denunciation 
in any of his speeches. This speech was very long and we make 

extracts from it. 

white's second knoxvillb speech. 

**For what did you and I toil and labor to displace Mr. Adams ? 
It was that we might bring back the practice of the government 
to sound Jeffersonian principles; to an economical expenditure 
of the public money. 

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'^Before the second term of his successor had expired, some of 
my political friends believed my humble name ought to be pre- 
sented to the people as a candidate for the high station he filled. 
Some in this assemblage well know I remonstrated against the 
use of my name, and foretold that with my Umited capacity and 
humble pretensions, no hope of success ought to be entertained. 
They thought differently; I did not, and would not yield my 
assent imtil informed that the federal executive had threatened 
that if I did permit the use of my name, I should be rendered 
odious to society. This threat answered a purpose that the 
persuasion of friends could not. Despotic power never has 
governed and never shall govern me. My name was given to the 
public, and should have been, if the act had lost me the good 
opinion of every political friend I had upon earth, and I might 
almost add if it had even endangered the good opinion of my wife 
and children. The result is known to us all. The Administra- 
tion did its worst. Its thousand presses were opened upon me 
and my friends, and here I am, in better health, and I think 
entitled to more character than when they commenced upon me. 
Still, let no man scorn the power of the press. To withstand its 
influence is a perilous effort. I have made the experiment, and 
now assiu-e you, that I should feel less risk in to-morrow shoulder- 
ing my musket and knapsack, and marching to the swamps of 
Florida for a six months* campaign against the Seminoles, than 
in encountering such incessant discharge of calunmy and slander 
from all the presses which an American executive has the power 
to bring into action. 

**In this conflict you, the freemen of Tennessee, were. my 
shield. The poisoned arrows of my enemies have fallen harmless 
at my feet. I have sustained no injury, and your firnmess has 
given a brilliancy to the star which glitters over the name of Ten- 
nessee, of which we may all be proud. 

*'For one, I am quite satisfied with the result. Let none sup- 
pose I am either disappointed or mortified. Still more, all may 
be assured that with my consent my name will never again be 
used for any office whatever. If I ever had any aspirations for 
high office, time has put an end to them. I am not so old yet 
as to have the childish belief that my vigor of body and mind are 
to last always. In all the stations I have yet occupied I have 
been enabled so to acquit myself as never to mortify my friends. 
Humble as my pretensions are, I have sometimes been placed in high 
office, a^ the associate of some who had much character among 
men; many of you were witnesses of the manner in which our 
official duties were discharged, and I am proud in the belief that 
my reputation has never suffered by any comparison. My hope 
and prayer is that I may have discretion enough to siurender 
even my present station before I am so enfeebled, either in body 
or mind, as to make it necessary for the interest of Tennessee to 
hiss me from the stage. 

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"The present executive (Van Buren) knows full well he has 
no distinctive character of his own; that he must conform to the 
will and wish of those who placed him in his present high station. 
He knows the means by which he acquired it, and must act out 
his part. 

**Remember that the miserable lizard can reach the pinnacle 
of the same spire on which the eagle proudly perches himself; but 
the process by which he reaches it is very different. The latter 
trusting to his native strength and his own good wings, fearlessly 
soars aloft, and proudly perches himself on the summit, in view 
of all beholders. While the other, degraded reptile, stealthily 
and cautiously creeps up, clinging to, and ascending, that side 
of the column which will screen him from observation until he 
reaches the pinnacle, and then slily peeps over, ready to shrink 
back when he finds himself discovered. Do you ask what then is 
to be done, when a political lizard has taken possession of the 
station which ought to be occupied by the eagle? My answer is 
ready. Through the ballot-boxes, keep steadily switching him, 
imtil he descends to that level which it is the interest of mankind 
he should occupy. 


It is rare among political leaders to find rules of political 
conduct laid down by themselves of such character, and under 
such circumstances, as to convince the reader that they are the 
real and genuine convictions and opinions of the men giving them 
expression. Generally we do not credit politicians with saying 
what they really believe. We know that politicians have "played 
politics" in every land beneath the sun from the time that the 
development of man made evident differences in mental capacity, 
and that one might have the brains, chicanery, selfishness or 
callous nerve to get the advantage of his fellows by means that 
do not square with the rules of right. Politics generally means 
pohcy, and policy has no objective but success, and no fixed rules 
or principles except those that will win. A political leader who 
even sometimes exhibits his real and fixed views on a public 
question, commands oiu: surprise, and one who at all times sub- 
mits public questions to the test of conscience and principle, 
as Hugh Lawson White did, commands and receives our unlimited 
admiration, even our awed veneration. How many politicians 
of the latter kind has America produced? 

Politicians are never always right, or always wrong, always 
honest or always crooked. Generally they are speckled and have 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 15 

varied and tortuous records. If we could only inject into the 
inmost convictions of the American people the motto adopted by 
Alexander H. Stephens in his **War Between The States," "Times 
change and men change with them, but principles never change,*' 
we would improve the mental clarity of the people, and purge our 
political life of an endless amount of charlatantry, duplicity, raw 
crookedness, hypocrisy and thinly disguised dishonesty. We 
would eliminate the current and imbecile saying, "Wise men change 
their minds, fools never.'* Wise men never change their minds on 
any matter involving principle, and fools can not be considered 
as having any principles to change. 

Humanity has reached a deplorable stage if it can be truth- 
fully stated that there are no fixed principles for public men to 
be guided by, that we are left to play politics, to try expedients, 
to cultivate popularity, to be "practical politicians;" in other 
words, to act on the idea that the end justifies the means, and 
that there is no criterion but success. 

Theodore Roosevelt died in 1919 and published his auto- 
biography in 1916, in which he clearly sets out the reasons and 
methods of his political conduct. 

Hugh Lawson White died in 1840 and in his letter to Condy 
Raguet, and in various public statements, he plainly sets out the 
reasons and methods of his political conduct. It is our purpose 
to compare the reasons and methods of these two leaders, and to 
contrast their professions with their acts. 

It should be kept in mind that every politician is presented 
continuously with two kinds of issues. 

First, the issues which involve characteristics like personal 
honor, official honor, truthfulness, patriotism, sincerity, disin- 
terestedness, candor, impartiality, integrity and others that are 
indispensable to real manhood. These characteristics must be 
lived up to by every man, whether politician or private citizen i 
who claims to be guided by the rule of right. It is rare there 
can be any real diflference of opinion as to what is right in the 
forum of conscience in regard to public questions. 

Second: The issues of policy, judgment, discretion, manage- 
ment, public health, the exercise of the police power by the State, 
public convenience, and hundreds of others that make up the greater 
part of the acts of Congress and State legislatures, in which funda- 
mental and generally recognized principles are not involved, but 
only questions of what is best to be done under the circumstances 

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16 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

for the public welfare. In this class of issues, if the politician 
is not a grafter for money or property or office, and does not vote 
merely as a matter of favor on one side or the other, and not in 
accord with deliberate judgment, he cannot be legitimately crit- 
icized if he votes wrong, for anything but an error of judgment- 
The very large majority of public questions are of this class, and 
they reach the daily lives, comfort, prosperity and happiness of 
all the people of all the States. 


In studying Theodore Roosevelt it should be kept in mind 
from the outset that whatever his acts and conduct might have 
been in public affairs, he was essentially a political preacher, a 
public sermonizer, and was curiously indifferent whether his acts 
and conduct agreed with his sermons or not. The commandments 
which he laid down in his autobiography for the guidance of him- 
self, are a curious mixture of correct principles and bad principles, 
of truth and error, of mental acutenesss and mental absurdity 
which were always characteristic of the man and carried out in 
the work of a lifetime. Roosevelt was not a thorough or profound 
student of anything. His mind was not constructed for deep 
or consistently logical thinking. He cared nothing for logic if 
it stood in the way of success. Inconsistency was a trifling thing 
to him. He was a typical New York politician of the Van Biu-en 
type, with more political courage than Van Buren had, but less 
weight of judgment and real strength of brains. 

We will quote some extracts from his autobiography in order 
to show that with all his talk of idealism, reform, applied idealism, 
and the square deal, he was an every day ''practical politician," 
with whom the end justified the means, if the means were not 
too flagrantly and obviously bad for it to be "poor politics** to 
make use of them. 


This will be found on page 86 of his autobiography: 

"Like most young men in politics I went through various 
oscillations of feeling, before I 'found myself.* At one period I 
became so impressed with the virtue of complete independence, 
that I proceeded to act on each case purely as I personally viewed 
it, without paying any heed to the principles and prejudices of 
others. The result was that I speedily and deservedly lost all 
power of accomplishing anything at all ; and I thereby learned the 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessbb History 17 

invaluable lesson that in the practical activities of life no man can 
render the highest service unless he can act in combination with 
his fellows, which means a certain amount of give and take be- 
tween him and them." 

This doctrine overturns the teachings of centuries in which 
mankind has held up as ideal in politics that * 'complete inde- 
pendence** which acts in each case as the politician honestly 
views it, and is not controlled by graft or the influence of others. 
It illustrates one of the curious mental obliquities of Roosevelt 
when he says that he "deservedly lost all power of accomplishing 
an3rthing at all,'* because he viewed each case with "complete 
independence'* of judgment. One wonders why a man "de- 
servedly" loses the power to accomplish things he considers for 
the public welfare, because he uses "complete independence" 
in making up his mind what things will benefit the pubUc. 

It illustrates another obliquity of his mind ^ere he says, 
"No man can render the highest service tmless he acts in combi- 
nation with is fellows," with a "certain amoimt of give and take 
between him and them." 

What is the "highest service" to mankind? It is that service 
which can be rendered honorably and with clean motives and by 
clean methods. Such a service is an inspiration and an example. 
What is a man in Congress or a State legislatm-e for if not to act 
and vote on his independent, personal views and judgment? If 
he does not so act, on whose judgment is he to act? Was he 
sent to Congress or to the State legislature as the dummy repre- 
sentative of some other man, or of some faction, or for some scheme 
or corporation ? 

Roosevelt in the above quotation set out the rules that gov- 
erned him as a member of the New York legislature, and says 
that he there learned the "invaluable lesson** that in the practical 
activities of life there must be "a certain amount of give and take." 
Every grafter and crook and spoilsman and ward-healer and 
political boss and election fixer and all other human birds of prey, 
win say "Yea" and "Amen" to this "give and take" proposition. 
Tammany Hall in the days of Boss Tweed and the thieves of the 
Republican ring at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, when the State 
Capitol was built, stood on exactly the same platform. It is 
common groimd for all the outlaws of the world to get together 
on, and help each other. It cannot be explained away. 

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18 Andrew Jackson and Eari,y Tbnnbssbb History 

But what does Roosevelt, the idealist, mean by **give and 
take?" *'Give" what? '*Take" what? What can its meanmg 
be except that obviously given to it by man in his knowledge of 
politics through all the centuries? It means '*give" support 
to the schemes of "practical politicians/* and ''take" support 
from them for such reforms of Roosevelt and his fellow idealists 
as the "practical politicians" might conclude did not hurt the 
operations of "practical politics." It can mean nothing else and 
never had any other meaning in the history of politics. It is an 
illustration of what Roosevelt calls in his autobiography "applied 

SECOND quotation. 

But there is another sample of mixed morality and curious 
idealism set out on page 91 of his Autobiography in which he 
further explains his code of political morals: 

"During the three years I served in the legislature, I worked 
on a very simple philosophy of government. It was that personal 
character and initiative are the prime requisites to political and 
social life. It was not only a good but an absolutely indispensable 
theory as far as it went, but was defective in that it produced no 
3ufficient allowance for the needs of collective action. I shall 
never forget the men with whom I worked hand in hand in these 
legislative struggles, not only my fellow legislators but some 
newspaper reporters, such as Spinney and Cimningham; and then 
in addition, the men in the various districts who helped us. We 
had made up our minds that we must not fight fire with fire, 
that on the contrary the way to win out was to equal our foes in 
practical efficiency, and yet to stand at the opposite plane from 
them in applied morality." 

It would be very interesting if Roosevelt had given some illus- 
trations taken from his public record of just what he meant in 
this quotation by "practical efficiency." It will be observed that 
he is presenting that associsCtion of idealism with "the need of 
collective action" (which means "practical politics"), to produce 
ideal results, which is certainly absurd enough. "Collective 
action" can only mean joint action with "practical poUticians," 
who make no claim to be idealists, and who by some curious al- 
chemy known only to Mr. Roosevelt, are to support ideal measures, 
help pass ideal laws, and prove political uplifters, in return for 
the confessedly limited influence of idealists who profess to be 
idealists through and through. 

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Andrew Jackson and EAiaY Tennbssbb History 19 

At the same time that he and his fellow idealists were operating 
with ''collective action," Mr. Roosevelt says that he andt hey 
made up their minds that they would not "fight fire with fire." 
This can only mean that they would not match rascality with 
rascality, would not meet bribery with bribery, would not inject 
corruption against corruption, or chicaneryagainst chicanery, but 
would win by equalling "our foes" in "practical efficiency." But 
how can this equalling be brought about? By a "certain amount 
of give and take" between the idealists and the unwashed poli- 
ticians, the idealists "to stand at the opposite plane of morality" 
from them while at the same time giving and taking with the poli- 
ticians to bring about practical results? 

A man writes his autobiography to vindicate his life and con- 
duct, and to present himself to posterity in the best possible light. 
And so Roosevelt's autobiography was evidently written. He 
evidently felt that his public acts made necessary some sort of 
effort to prove that idealist oil and practical politician water, 
could be made to mix, and that he knew how to do the mixing. 
A wiser or a man better poised, would never have made the at- 
tempt to mix the oil and the water, and his attempted explantion 
only illustrates his mental eccentricity or obliquity, that could 
not be kept in a line of straight reason. No man ever lived who 
yielded principles in politics and could still be considered a man of 
honor. The distance between pohtitical principle and practical 
pohtics is just the distance between the man of honor and one 
addicted to expedients that look only in the direction of success. 

We must conclude, therefore, in this comparison between Theo- 
dore Roosevelt and Hugh Lawson White, that the facts compel 
us to place Roosevelt in the class of the practical politicians of 
New York — astute, resourceful, bold, untiring and "practical," 
but an unlimited distance from an ideal putjic leader. 


Turning now to Hugh Lawson White, we find a man whose life 
and character can be siunmed up in the three words, Honor, Brains, 
Courage, and who as the possessor of these three qualities, can 
be said to be as near the ideal American as any other man ever 
was, or nearer. 

Great emergencies require great stamina and will power to 
meet them, and are the tests of the strength of manhood. There 
are hundreds of thousands of men in the United States who de- 

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20 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

servedly rank as good citizens because they obey the laws, pay 
their taxes, support charitable institutions, meet their obliga- 
tions and perform the routine duties of life and citizenship in 
such manner as to command the respect of their fellow citizens; 
but, if these same men were compelled to face a great public 
responsibility, where criticism and derision, or, even downright 
abuse, might result from their manner of meeting the responsi- 
bility, a large per cent of them would fail to measure up to the 
occasion, and hundreds would refuse to meet the responsibility 
at all. 

One of the most far-reaching supplications in the Lord's 
prayer is that in which it implores, **Lead us not into temptation," 
wherein spotted and erring humanity recognizes its danger when 
the forbidden lure confronts it. It is mankind's wail of hu- 
miliation because of its weakness, and its incorporation into 
this prayer demonstrates perfect knowledge of what men and 
women really are. There are hundreds of thousands of good 
men in the United States who are good men for the reason that 
temptation to stray and to fall has never been presented to them 
strongly enough to thoroughly test their moral stamina. 

If we measure Hugh Lawson White by every test that can be 
applied to a man, we find that he meets every one of them over 
and over again through a life of sixty-seven years; and, not only 
meets them, but emerges from them a shining illustration of the 
highest and finest there is in American character. At no time 
do we find that he ever shirked a responsibility, or quailed before 
an issue requiring political, moral or personal courage. His 
coiu^ge was not of the noisy or blatant kind, but was always cool, 
self-possessed and fearless. His will power was as strong as 
Andrew Jackson's, but was manifested differently. He was an 
illustrious example erf that "complete independence" in public 
affairs which, according to Roosevelt's code of political ethics, 
causes a man to "deservedly lose all power of accomplishing 
anything at all." But, to White's honor, be it said, this danger 
if it ever existed, did not prevent him from being completely 
independent. There was hot even a suggestion of "give and take" 
in all his long and spotless public career. He did not consider 
his "complete independence" a quality to shy away from in order 
that he might touch elbows with the practical politicians and 
march under their flag. No man ever held a public office in 
America who was more purely disinterested, and imqualifiedly 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 21 

devoted to the constitution and the happiness of the American 
people. No man ever carried out his official duties in a manner 
more nearly ideal than he. In hb letter to Condy Raguet, 
quoted heretofore, he said, **I do not carry on political or friendly 
correspondence with any man living; I have a cordial dislike for 
everything like contrivance, by which to put or keep any man or 
set of men in office." In the same letter he also said, **My whole 
aim and ambition is to fix in my own mind the political principles 
which in my own opinion best accord with the consitution and then 
to give them such practical effect as will be productive of the 
most good." 

It may be suggested that this course is impractical, but White 
was in the Senate fifteen years and had great influence, and could 
have had more if he had tried to get it, and could have remained 
in the Senate in spite of his "complete independence," if he had 
exerted himself to remain there. His sense of official propriety 
was of that type which holds that the office must seek the man, 
and every office he ever held sought him and asked his acceptance 
of it. A man can be "completely independent" in political life 
and have wide influence, and, without impropriety, seek office, 
and such seeking does not detract a whit from his idealism, if he 
seeks it by high methods and not by those of the practical politi- 
cian. But White not only did not seek office, but he made no 
aggressive effort to influence others. He did not go into the 
highways of politics to make converts. He never in his life killed 
a fatted calf to feed political prodigals, and it may be that his 
total lack of exertion of his political influence actively, consti- 
tuted a weakness in his career. He was no proselyter. He gained 
adherents mainly by his example and ^by [his public utterances. 
If a man sought his advice or his opinion, he would freely give it. 
His activities were negative, when they could have been positive 
to impress others, and in that way vastly have augmented his 
strength and influence. 

Political contests usually are merely organized selfishness with 
one end in view, in antagonism to organized selfishness with 
another end in view; and, neither side that wins offers any very 
substantial groimd for hope of permanent betterment in public 
conditions. It is this fact that makes the piu*e, tmselfish, grand 
record of Hugh Lawson White blaze so luminously. It is eternally 
obvious that human natiu*e is throughly selfish in all the ac- 
tivities of life, so that when here and there a man appears whose 

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22 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbe History 

actions and motives are above self, and rise to heights that ap- 
proach the really ideal, he shines like a star brightening a vast 
expanse of darkness and gloom. 

One of oiu- seemingly incurable defects is that so few men 
of high ideals make any effort to push their ideals into actual 
effect, which leav^ the practical politicians complete and per- 
petual masters of the field. A man of high ideals can exert 
some influence in a private and purely personal way, but it is 
necessarily small. What we need is for educated men, university 
graduates, thoughtful students and readers of books, who sin- 
cerely want the standards of federal, state, county and mimicipal 
governments raised, to take an active part in politics. This 
does not mean to get down in the mire with the practical politi- 
cians, but by bold, aggressive efforts, exerted in an open, dean 
way, to educate the voters into a higher view of what |X)litics 
should mean. 

A failiu'e on the part of the better class of citizens to do this 
is what has caused municipal government in oiu* land to be synony- 
mous with successful graft, greed, treachery and rascality, that 
feel perfectly comfortable just so they keep out of the jails and 
penitentiaries. Our municipal government is a complete and 
htuniliating failiu*e, for which the voters are responsible. They 
can have good government if they determine to have it, but they 
will never have it imless they bring it about. Changing the form 
of government merely will effect very little. Down to a few years 
ago, our American city charters followed the old English form 
of government by mayor and aldermen, and under that form, 
the cities became so corrupt that a change was demanded on the 
theory that the trouble lay in the form. So the cities began to 
change to the "commission" form, by which the city is governed 
by a commission of three, five, seven or nine, elected from the 
city at large, and required to devote their full time to the duties 
of the ofiice. American cities are experimenting with this form 
to-day, and the improvement is far short of what was expected 
from it, but the experiment has been beneficial in one respect 
at least. It has shown the people that successful government 
does not depend on the form so much as upon the men elected to 
carry out the form. Good men can give good government imder 
the old mayor and aldermen charter. Bad and incompetent 
men can, and are now giving bad government under commission 

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Andrbw Jackson and EAiaY Tennessee History 23 

charters. It is very largely a question of administration, as was 
expressed by Alexander Pope in his metrical "Essay on Man." 

"For forms of government let fools contest, 
Wh%te'er is best administered is best.*' 

An error in Judge White's career which we would not expect 
him of all men, to commit, was his recognizing the right of the 
Tennessee legislature to instruct him how he should vote on meas- 
ures coming before the United States Senate, and of his duty 
to resign in the event he felt he could not conscientiously obey 
the instructions. To the student of to-day this "instructing" 
a man out of the Senate looks as cxuious as some of Roosevelt's 
idealism. The federal constitution provides that a United States 
Senator shall hold his office six years. Instructing a senator out 
of the senate nullifies this provision absolutely, and puts Sena- 
torial terms and membership at the caprice of changing party 
majorities in the legislatures of the several States. 

But in Judge WTiite's case a recognition of the right of the 
legislature to instruct, is explained by a grand consistency which we 
may not endorse, but which for the self-sacrifice it brought about 
in his case, we are forced to admire. In that day the trend of 
constitutional construction limited federal and enlarged State 
activities. The States were sovereign except in the granted powers, 
and these granted i)owers were circumscribed by construction as 
much as possible. It was held that senators were elected by State 
legislattu'es which were the organizations that spoke for sover- 
eign States. Their voice was the voice of the State, and Judge 
White held himself obedient to the voice of the State, so speaking, 
so that when the legislature spoke he held himself bound to obey, 
and he did obey. 

On November 29, 1839, the legislature of Tennessee directed 
him to vote for the Sub-Treasury bill, which he declined to do, 
and therefore resigned as a senator of Tennessee, although he had 
carried the State as a candidate for President by 10,000 majority 
over Van Biu^en, who was supported by Andrew Jackson and the 
powerful organization of the Democratic party. It was in vin- 
dication of his own consistency that he placed his own head on 
the block to be amputated by the political guillotine. This was 
splendid and heroic consistency, and resulted in a self-sacrifice 
which, if made by a politician of to-day, would dumfound the 

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24 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 

Judge White was recognized as one of the ablest constitu- 
tional lawyers in the Senate where Daniel Webster and others 
in his professional class, were members. He was also recognized 
as one of the piu-est men and finest characters. Eighty years 
have passed since he died, and no superior has appeared in the 
Senatorial arena. Since his day the Mexican War has been 
waged, the Republican party bom, slavery abolished, Lincoln's 
colossal figure appeared, the war with Spain taken place, the map 
of the world remade several times, dynasties and monarchies 
gone down for all time, and the European war (so great that the 
mind staggers and cannot comprehend it) has pkssed into history, 
and the name and fame of Hugh Lawson White have disappeared 
from consideration in the life and teachings of the times, except 
by historical students. But one biography of him was ever written, 
that by his granddaughter, Nancy Newton Scott, published in 
1856 and long since out of print. Since that time this sketch, 
incomplete as it is, is the only serious effort made by any one to 
revive his memory and perpetuate his fame. 

He was called **The Just," and **Cato," and his life and work 
will suffer nothing by comparison with the great Roman. The 
author in attempting to put upon modem canvas for modern 
eyes pictures of some of the great men who created the tremendous 
prestige of Tennessee in the first half of the last centiuy, feels 
that in Judge White, Tennessee can make profert of a character, 
the splendor of which pales in comparison with no other, and whom 
the State can hold up as nearly an ideal statesman and citizen 
as America ever produced, if not nearer. 

The author thought that he served a historical purpose in il- 
lustrating politics by bringing the professed teachings and acts of 
Theodore Roosevelt and those of Hugh Lawson White into com- 
parison, and letting the student see the ultimate result of the 
teachings of the two men, each professing idealism, but idealism in 
the case of Roosevelt he was willing to yield to the practical pol- 
iticians in ejcchange for their support, while White's idealism yield- 
ed for nothing, and he stood to the very last tme to his unchange- 
able views of what was best for his country. 

white's opinion of some contemporaries. 

It is always interesting to know the opinion of a successful 
public man of other public men, his contemporaries, with whom 
he comes in contact, whether as friends or opponents, and whether 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 25 

the opinion is made public during the life-time of him expressing 
it, or after his death in an autobiography. The autobiography 
affords the opportimity for mature opinions and thoroughly con- 
sidered estimates, and this class of book makes a strong appeal 
to persons who read history. 

In the early days of Teimessee autobiographies were not 
written, and the public expression of a leader's opinion of 
another or others, was confined to stump speaking, or, to the small 
number of newspapers, with their limited circulations, and were 
usually given in political controversies and elections, which are 
not conducive to calm, honest or thorough opinions, one man of 

It is different in our day. We have a number of autobi- 
ographies which are profoundly interesting. For illustration: 
James G. Blaine wrote * 'Twenty Years in Congress,** Samuel S. 
Cox "Three Decades of Federal Legislation,** Senator George F. 
Hoar '^Autobiography of Seventy Years,** John Sherman "Recol- 
lections of Forty Years in House, Senate and Cabinet,'* J. B. 
Poraker "Notes of a Busy Life** and Theodore Roosevelt "Auto- 

Hugh Lawson White wrote no books and gave nothing to the 
public about his contemporaries that has cone down to us, except 
in his public speeches, and in a letter to Lyman C. Draper, which 
Draper requested. This letter is given below and is a copy of 
the one in the Draper Collection of the Wisconsin Historical 
Society. White*s estimate of John Sevier, William Bloimt and 
James Robertson will be gratefully received by the investigator of 
today, especially as it was given only a year before his death, 
and when his judgment was fully matured by the experience and 
observation of a long life. 


"Freeland, near Knoxville, April 6th, 1839. 
"Dear Sir: 

"Your letter dated 12th ultimo never reached me till within 
the three last days. 

"I am sorry I cannot comply with your request by sending a 
copy of the speech to which you allude. Every copy I had has 
been disposed of. 

"I was well acquainted with each of the gentlemen, in relation 
to whom you desire information. 

"George W. Sevier, who lives near Nashville in West Ten- 
nessee, is a son of Governor John Sevier by a second wife. His 

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26 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tknnbssbe History 

eldest son, by a first wife is also alive, and is Major James Sevier, 
residing near Jonesborough in East Tennessee. TTiey are both 
highly respectable, and w5l tell you nothing respecting even their 
father, which they do not believe to be true. My acquaintance 
with Governor Sevier commenced in the autumn of the year 1784 
and continued till the time of his death. He is the same man 
who is mentioned as one of the distinguished heroes of King's 
mountain during the revolutionary war. His son last named, 
if I mistake not, was then old enough to be and actually was in 
that battle with his father. I will only add he was considered 
among the most gallant, patriotic and useful men, in the coimtry 
where he lived, of his day. 

**With William Cocke I was well acquainted from the year 
1786 to the time of his death. Whether he is the same spoken 
of as being at Boonsborough, Kentucky in 1775, I do not know. 
He is not the Gen. 

* 'Governor Willie Blount was the half brother of Governor 
WilUam Blount. While William was Governor of the territory 
Willie acted a considerable time as his private secretary. After 
the State was organized he was elected a judge of the Superior 
Courts, he held the office but a short time, and then resigned. 
He was several times elected Governor, and more than once to 
the legislature; a short time before his death he was elected a 
member of the Convention to amend the Constitution of the 
State, and discharged his duties as a member of that body. 
He was a respectable and very popular man, tho* greatly inferior 
to his Brother William as to talents and information. Indeed 
I think it may be honestly said of William, he had few equals on 
the stage in his day. 

**William G. Blount was the eldest son of Governor William. 
He was a young man of fine genius, by profession a lawyer, tho' 
he never practiced. For a while he was Secretary of State in 
Tennessee, was twice elected a Representative to Congress from 
the District in which he had been reared, and died in early life. 

'*! knew General James Robertson. He was among the early 
adventurers to what is now Middle Tennessee, and was among 
the most brave and useful men of his day. He was to West 
Tennessee during the troublesome Indian Wars what John Sevier 
was to East Tennessee. These two men resided three hundred 
miles apart, more than two thirds of that distance an entire wilder- 
ness, and each in his section of the country in every time of trouble, 
was looked to by his countrymen to direct what was best to be 
done, and then to go in person and aid in the doing of that which 
had been advised. Cocke spoken of in the late Creek War, that 
was his eldest son, General John Cocke, who now resides near 
Rutledge in East Tennessee, to whom I refer you for a minute 
account of his father's life. William Cocke was in the Creek War 
as a common volunteer soldier, and you will find him spoken of 
in one of General Jackson's official reports as highly distinguish- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennesskk History 27 

ing himself at the battle of Emuckfaw, in the early part of the year 

"Governor WiUiam Blount I became acquainted with in 1790 
or 1791. Prior to that time he had never resided in what is now 
the State of Tennessee. He had lived and been a man of dis- 
tinction in the lower part of North Carolina. 

"In the year 1789 North Carolina ceded to the United States 
the country now the State of Tennessee, the United States ac- 
cepted the Cession, established a territorial government, and 
appointed Mr. Blount Governor, in which office he continued 
discharging all his duties with distinguished ability and faithful- 
ness to the year 1796 when Tennessee became a State. John 
Sevier was elected Governor in opposition to Joseph Anderson, 
late Comptroller of the Treasury, and William Blount and William 
Cocke were elected Senators to Congress. Blount was impeached, 
the Senate decided that a Senator was a civil officer within the 
meaning of the constitution, and that he was not liable to im- 

"After this, Mr. Blount was elected a Senator to the Legis- 
lattire of Tennessee by the people of Knox Coimty, in which he 
had always lived after removing to Tennessee. 

"Doctor Felix Robertson of Nashville, West Tennessee, is a 
son of General James Robertson, and to him I refer you for any 
information you may wish respecting his father. 

"William C. C. Claiborne came from Virginia to Tennessee 
when a young man, was by profession a lawyer, practiced for 
some time with reputation, was a member of the Convention 
which framed the Constitution, afterwards a State Judge, then a 
Representative in Congress, and afterwards by an appointment 
from the Federal Government taken to the countries below us, 
on the Mississippi, where he was continued in public life to the 
time of his death, in Louisiana. He has no children now living 
except one daughter. His widow is married to a Mr. Grymes, a 
distinguished lawyer in New Orleans. 

"C^orge W. Campbell was bom in Scotland, brought to the 
United States in early life, settled and reared in North Carolina, 
came to Tennessee in the year 1797 or 1798, by profession a lawyer, 
practiced for some time, was a Representative in Congress, then 
a Senator, a judge of the Supreme Court in Tennessee, which 
office he resigned, was appointed Secretary of the Treasmy, 
afterwards Minister to Russia, and a few years ago was one of 
the Commissioners under the Convention with France. His 
residence is in Nashville, West Tennessee. 

"I close what I have to say by informing you that Joseph 
Anderson came to Tennessee in 1791 as a Territoral Judge, ap- 
pointed by the Father of his Country, General Washington; he 
continued in that office till Tennessee became a State in 1796, 
was a member of Convention to frame the State Constitution, 
afterwards practised law with imrivaled reputation for some 

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28 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 

years, was elected a Senator in Congress several times, finally 
appointed Comptroller of the Treasmy, which office he held till 
a short time before his death, when his want of health induced 
him to resign. 

**His children were all sons, his widow and most of his children 
reside in Tennessee, and should you wish to know more of him, 
I refer you to A. A. Anderson, Esquire, Knoxille, East Tennessee, 
one of his sons, who gives promise of much reputation in the pro- 
fession of a lawyer. 

"Very respectfully, 
"Your most obedient servant, 

"Hugh I.. White." 

Miss Scott's biography, while frankly partial to her great 
kinsman, is invaluable to the student of the politics of that time. 
She has preserved historical matter in reference to Hugh 
I^awson White and other leaders of his day that would have other- 
wise been lost. Her devoted affection for Judge White and her 
modest opinion of her "Memoir" of him, make her very attractive 
to the reader, and as long as Tennessee history has either readers 
or writers, her book will live, and she with it, in high esteem. 
Her dedication and preface exhibit her in fine light. 



the only siuidving sister of Hugh Lawson White, *The Just,' 


of his piu-e life and worthy deeds, 
the irrepressible outpouring of a yearning spirit, written with a 
hope that it may contribute to 


but with the conviction that a much more perfect and lofty 
tribute is justly his due, 

is respectfully and lovingly dedicated by 
the writer." 


"This book has many imperfections. It is not compiled by an 
experienced writer, nor has it been prepared with the advantages 
of position or reputation. It is simply a tribute to the memory 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 29 

of one beloved and departed; the oflfering of that aknost idolatry 
which is found only in the breasts of those few who by nature 
are nearest and dearest to man. Only the merits of earnestness 
and devotion can therefore be claimed for it. 

"The writer has endeavored to retire from view; to accomplish 
the present purpose in the most unobtrusive manner, by a nar- 
rative brief and plain, interspersed with such letters, speeches 
and other documents, as may best illustrate the relations of 
Judge White to the great men and measm-es of the times, and 
the high and honorable position — ^honorable to himself, his State 
and his country — which he held in the hearts and coimcils of his 

Col. John Bell Brownlow told the author that after Miss 
Scott had finished her "Memoir** the Honorable John Bell was 
canvassing Tennessee as a candidate for re-election to the United 
States Senate, and was in Knoxville, stopping at the house of 
Honorable W. G. Brownlow, when Miss Scott called and sub- 
mitted the manuscript of her book to Mr. Bell for consideration 
and correction, which he undertook, and spent several days in 
the Brownlow home on the task. 

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30 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 


Hugh Lawson White — ^The Expunging Resolution — 

Willing to Become a Candidate for President — 

Nominated by Tennessee Legislature — 

Letters to Friends. 

SSZ!!iit!i i*ii*V>yidb i rifl i V*«"M*'w"B"M*^ 


On March 28, 1834, Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a 
resolution of censiu*e on Andrew Jackson, which passed by a party 
vote of twenty-six to twenty, the whigs having control of the Sen- 
ate. Hugh Lawson White voted against the resolution, which, in 
a different form, was considered three times. As adopted it read : 

"RESOLVED: That the President in the late executive pro- 
ceedings in relation to the public revenues has assumed upon him- 
self authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and 
laws, but in derogation of both." 

On page 423 of the first volume of his * 'Thirty Years* View" 
Mr. Benton expressed his opinion of the intrinsic character, force 
and effect of this resolution in terms rather of contempt than 
otherwise, a resolution which would not seem to loom large enough 
to require him to devote three years of his senatorial labors to its 
undoing. He said: 

**And thus the resolution was passed, and was nothing but an 
empty fulmination — a mere personal censure — Shaving no relation 
to any business or proceeding in the Senate, and evidently intended 
for effect on the people. * * * * When passed, the total 
irrelevancy of the resolution to any right or duty of the Senate was 
made manifest by the insignificance that attended its decision. 
There was nothing to be done with it or upon it or under it or in 
relation to it. It went to no committee, laid the foundation of 
no action, was not communicable to the other House or to the 
President; and remained an intrusive fulmination on the Senate 
Journal; put there not for any legislative piupose but purely and 
simply for popular effect. Great reliance was placed upon that 
effect. It was fully believed, notwithstanding the experience of 
the Senate in Mr. Van Buren's case, that a Senatorial condem- 
nation would destroy whomsoever it struck, even General Jackson. 
Vain calculation." 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 31 

And Mr. Benton's opinion was right. Clay's resolution 
was pure buncombe, introduced for such political effect as it 
might have, and Clay hoped this would be great, for he had strong 
personal, as well as political animosity against Jackson. 

Benton's resolution to "expunge" Clay's resolution was much 
of the same empty character as Clay's. The whole situation only 
proved that great political leaders can sometimes play smaU poli- 
tics like small politicians. 

Daniel Weoster had no personal animosity towards Jackson, 
and viewed Jackson's removal of the deposits from the standpoint 
of the great lawyer that he was, that is, as purely a legal question, 
which was, **Did Jackson have the power to move the deposits?" 
Webster said that he had and that he also had the right to remove 
the Secretary of the Treasury for not moving the deposits upon 
the President's order. In the discussion in 1834, Benton .quotes 
Webster as saying : 

"But while thus severely condemning the conduct of the Pres- 
ident in removing the former Secretary and appQinting the present, 
I must say that in my opinion, it is a case of abuse and not of 
usurpation of power. I cannot doubt that the President has under 
the constitution the right of removal from office; nor can I doubt 
that the power of removal, wherever it exists, does from necessity 
involve the power of general supervision; nor can I doubt that it 
might be constitutionally exercised in reference to the deposits." 

This opinion from the great expounder ought to have settled 
the question of Jackson's right to remove the deposits. And hav- 
ing been thus frank in his opinion, he was equally frank on the 
night when Benton's "Expimging Resolution" passed, when he 
said during the discussion: 

"We collect ourselves to look on in silence while a scene is 
exhibited, which, if we did not regard it as a ruthless violation of 
a sacred institution, would appear to us to be little elevated above 
the character of a contemptible farce." 

The Whigs contended, rightfully, that the constitution re- 
quired the Senate to keep a journal of its proceedings, and Benton's 
resolution required that Clay's resolution censuring General Jack- 
son, should be "expunged", which means to be literally cut out of 
the Senate Journal, and the Whigs declared that this expunging 
was a plain violation of the constitution. 

Benton's only object in "expunging", as he says in his "Thirty 
Years' View," was this: 

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32 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"The only effect of the expurgation bemg to express in the most 
emphatic manner the opinion that such matter ought never to have 
been put in the Journal," which clearly means that the putting of 
the matter in the Journal had no justification in law, and that the 
proper way to get it out was to expunge it out. But Mr. Benton 
creates a doubt in our minds of his sincerity by yielding the point, 
and consenting that the word "expunge" might be cut out of his 
resolution, and it seems that it was the influence of Hugh Lawson 
White, of Tennessee, that caused him to yield the point. On pages 
549-550 of his "Thirty Years' View" he uses this language: 

"The moment his (Benton's) resolution was taken up, Mr. 
White, of Tennessee, moved to strike out the word "expunge" and 
insert "rescind, reverse and make null and void". This motion 
astonished Mr. Benton. Mr. White, besides opposing all pro- 
ceedings a|;ainst President Jackson, had been his personal and 
politick fnend from early youth, for the more than forty years 
which each of them had resided in Tennessee. He expected his 
aid and felt the danger of such a defection. Mr. Benton defended 
his word as being strictly parliamentary, and the only thing which 
was proper to be used when an unauthorized act is to be con- 
demned, dl other phrases admitting the legality of the act which is to 
be invalidated. Mr. White, justifying his position, took the ground 
that an expiu-gation of the Journal would be its abolition, which 
he deemed inconsistent with the constitutional injimction to 
"keep" a Journal, the word "keep" being taken in the primary 
sense of "hold", "preserve", instead of "write" a Jotunal. But 
the mover (Benton) of the resolution says that Mr. White was not 
the only one of his friends who had )delded at that point, that 
others had given way and came about him, importuning Wm to 
give up the obnoxious word. Seeing himself almost deserted, he 
yielded mortif)dng and reluctant assent, and voted With others of 
his friends and emasculated his own motion, to reduce it from its 
high tone of reprobation to the legal formula whidi applies to the 
reversal of a mere error in a legal proceeding." 

Thereupon Mr. Webster made a speech through which ran a 
note of triumph and victory over Benton, and, thereupon, Benton 
admits that he reversed his previous reversal, and, seemingly not 
aware of how comical his attitude had become, says that: 

"The exulting speech of Mr. Webster restored me (Benton) 
to my courage and made a man of me again; and the moment the 
vote was over, I arose and submitted the original resolution over 
again with the detested word in it, to stand for the second week of 
the next session, with the peremptory declaration that I would 
never yield it again to the solicitation of friend or foe." 

But it remained for John C. Calhoun to puncture Benton's 
final victory, and to show the amusing aspect of an expunging res- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 33 

olution passed and "exptmge" entirely eliminated. Mr. Calhoun 

"No one not blinded by party zeal can possibly be insensible 
that the measiu^ proposed is a violation of the constitution requiring 
the Senate to keep a Journal: this resolution goes to expunge the 
Journal. If you may expunge a part you may expunge the whole; 
and if it is expunged, how is it kept? The constitution says the 
Journal must be kept; this resolution says it shall be destroyed. 
It does the very thing which the constitution says shall not be done. 
That is the argiunent; the whole argument. There is none other. 
* * * They tell us that the resolution on our records is not to 
be "expunged" but is only to be endorsed "expunged." Really 
I do not know how to argue against such contemptible sophistry. 
The occasion is too solemn for an argument of this sort. You go 
to violating the constitution and you get rid of the infamy by a 
falsehood. You yourselves say that the resolution is expimged by 
your order. Yet you say it is not expunged. You put yoiu* act 
in express words. You record it and then turn around and deny 

HUGH I^WSON white. 

The student who studies the proceedings on the "Expunging Res- 
olution", is drawn to the conclusion that Hugh Lawson White was 
right in ev^ry position he took, and every vote that he cast, aq(i 
that he came out of that contest with his reputation for personal 
and official honor and ability as a constitutional lawyer, greatly 

As Mr. Benton says in the quotation above, White had been a 
lifelong friend of Andrew Jackson. When Clay first^ introduced 
his re^lution of censure, Mr. White promptly took the position 
that Jackson had the right to remove the deposits and voted against 
the resolution. When Senator Benton desired to violate the con- 
stitution by mutilating the joimial of the Senate, Senator White 
was equally firm and prompt in declaring that he could not support 
such violation. At first Mr. Benton clung to the word "expunge," 
and Senator White persistently held that other words could be used 
which would be equally as effective in their vindication of General 
Jackson, and his amendments were along this line. On March 28, 
1834, in the discussion, Senator White expressed his views as fol- 

"Mr. President: The object of my amendment is to enable 
each Senator to express the opinion he really entertains of the res- 
olution formerly passed by this body. 

"To vote for the resolution of the Senator from-Missotui in its 
present shape, I cannot: He proposes to "expimge" from oiu: jour- 


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34 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 

ubIs one of our resolutions, which was adopted when our votes were 
taken and recorded by yeas and nays. The Constitution requires 
that "each House shall keep a Journal of its proceedings, and that 
at the decision of one-fifth of its members, the yeas and nays shall 
be taken on any question." This Constitution each member has 
solemnly sworn to support. When we speak of the "Joimial" of 
our proceedings, we speak of a book kept here under our own in- 
spection, in which is faithfully recorded, under its appropriate date, 
every transaction of the body. This book is the original and all 
others are only copies of it. Now, what is proposed by the resol- 
ution ? It is to expunge one of the resolutions which we all admit 
we actually adopted, upon yeas and najrs, on the 28th of March, 
1834. Now, if we adopt this resolution, we solemnly order that 
our former resolution shall be erased, rubbed out, blotted, obliter- 
ated, or so corrected that it cannot be read. Suppose this order 
carried into effect, and any man to read our record, our journal, 
under date of the 28th March, he would have no knowledge that 
such a resolution as that complained of had ever existed. 

**The answer given to this argument by the honorable Senator 
is not satisfactory. He says in Ws resolution now under consider- 
ation, **It is preserved, because it is set out word for word." But 
it is not under its true date; and upon that principle, if we wish to 
ascertain what was done 28th March, 1834, we must look not to the 
Journal of that year, but to the journal erf 1835. This would not 
b4 a diary or journal of our proceedings according with the facts. 

"Again, what would become of our yeas and nays? Are we 
to deprive oiu-selves, those of oiu* own day, and posterity, of all 
means of knowing how we voted ? The gentleman does not pro- 
pose preserving our yeas and nays. I do not wish to lose mine, 
nor do I suppose any other member wishes to give up this record 
evidence of his opinion. 

**It appears to me plain that we cannot vote expunging the 
joimial, because it is contrary to the positive injunction of the 
Constitution, which we are boimd to observe. Adopt my amend- 
ment, and then pass the resolution, and we accomplish everything 
desirable. We Vescind* and declare *null and void' the original 
resolution. This is all that can be wished by any person; we re- 
verse oiu* decision, because we now think it was wrong; and we 
declare it null and void, because it was always wrong, and ought 
never to have been adopted. 

"This is the effect of my amendment as first proposed by me; 
and now at the instance of the honorable senator from Pennsyl- 
vania (Mr. McKean), I have modified so as to incorporate into 
it the additional words 'repealed and reversed.* It now reads 
that the resolution of 28th March is 'rescinded, repealed, re- 
versed and declared to be null and void.' This, it appears to 
me, is as strong an opinion as we can give, that the original reso- 
lution shall not stand as the judgment of the Senate, and that 
it ought never to have found a place upon our journals. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 35 

"Thus far I am willing to go, because it conforms to the 
opinion I now entertain, and to the opinion I entertained when 
the original resolution was adopted. 

"If time permitted, I would gladly say more on this subject; 
but it does not, and I must content myself with expressing a 
hope that my amendment may be adopted, so that I can vote 
for the resolution without a violation of one of my most solemn 

In the discussion on June 28, 1836, Senator White introduced 
the following preamble and resolutions, and proceeded to make 
an argument thereon. 

senator white's resolutions and speech. 

"Whereas, on the 28th day of March, 1834, the Senate of the 
United States adopted a resolution in the words following, to- wit: 

"Resolved, That the President, in the late executive prp- 
ceedings in relation to the public revenue, has assumed upon 
himself authority and powers not conferred by the Constitution 
and Laws, but in derogation of both." 

"And whereas, upon the question whether said resolution 
should be adopted, it was decided by one-fifth of the senators 
present that the same should be taken by yeas and nays; and the 
votes of the several members now stand recorded on the journal 
of the Senate: 

"And whereas, the said resolution still remains on the journal 
of the Senate in full force, not rescinded, reversed, repealed, or 
annulled; and cannot now be expunged, cancelled, or in any way 
obliterated or defaced without violating that clause of the Con- 
stitution of the United States which is in the following words, 
to- wit: 'Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and 
from time to time publish the same, excepting such part as may 
in their judgement require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of 
either house on any question shall, at the desire of one-fifth of 
those present, be entered on the journal:* 

"And whereas, the President of the United States in the late 
executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue, alluded to 
in said resolution, did not, in the opinion of the Senate, assume 
upon himself authority andpowers not conferred upon him by the 
Constitution and Laws: Therefore, it is 

"Resolved, That the said resolution, and the opinion therein 
expressed, be, and the same hereby are, reversed, and annulled; 
and it is hereby declared that the said resolution ought not to be 
considered as having had, or as now or hereafter having, any force 
or effect whatever. 

"I cannot assign as a reason for either exptmging or rescinding 
the resolution that the Senate had no power to adopt it, because 
I do not think so; and because I think it of the last importance 
we should retain with the Senate those powers vested in it for 
high and important purposes, and which are, or may be, essential 

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36 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

to preserve, the liberty of the people; but most willingly can I 
vote to rescind, reverse, and repeal the resolution; because I 
think that the Senate erred in adopting it. To say the least, 
there are doubts of our power to expunge, and no one, I think, 
ought to be certain the Senate had no power to adopt the reso- 
lution. Why, then, shall we cling to the word 'expunge,' and to 
this reason, when there is a plain course to pursue, in which what 
is due to tie Chief Magistrate and to ourselves can be accom- 
plished. To me, the reason is obvious. To expunge has become an 
executive measure. It is now the watchword of a party; and, by 
its use, those are to be hunted down who will not conform to the 
will of the party. In March, 1834, when the resolution was 
adopted, a majority of the Senate was opposed to the Chief 
Magistrate. His long and valuable services have endeared him 
to 9ie American people. They are sensitive as to everything 
which can affect his reputation as a man or as an ofl&cer. 

*'My opinion has been expressed, and was well known; I 
believe it conforms to the opinion of my State and its legislature; 
and I hold myself especially bound to endeavor to have it effected 
by the adoption of the resolution which I have siibmitted. Those 
who believe that either I or the people of my State are opponents 
of the Administration, mistake our character. Our politics are 
as they have been; we now stand on the same ground, advocate 
the same principles we did in 1828, when sustaining General 
Jackson to bring him into power. But we are the slave of no 
man; and when it is attempted to ingraft on our principles a sys- 
tem which does not belong to them, I will not yield my assent, 
be the consequences what they may. My wish is to rescind, 
reverse, and repeal the resolution of 1834, because, in my judg- 
ment, it is erroneous, and because I believe such is the judgment 
of my State. To vote to expunge it, I cannot; because, in my 
opinion the Constitution forbids it; and, anxious as my constit- 
uents are to vindicate the character of the Chief Magistrate, 
they will never require me to do so at the expense of that sacred 
instrument which we are all under the most high and solemn 
obligations to maintain inviolate.*' 

benton's final victory. 

Mr. Benton's final victory came on January 14, 1837, and not 
in all of the fifteen himdred pages of his "Thirty Years' View" 
does he show more perfect satisfaction than over the passage of 
of his so-called **Expunging Resolution." We quote his words in 
order that the reader may see how a really great and powerful 
character got worked up over a proposition that was, on both 
the Whig and the Democratic sides, a play of politics. This is 
the way Mr. Benton tells the story: 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 37 

"Saturday, the 14th of January, the Democratic Senators 
agreed to have a meeting, and Xo take their final measiu*es for 
passing the expunging resolution. They knew they had the num- 
bers; but they also knew that they had adversaries to grapple 
with to whom might be applied the proud motto of Louis the 
Fourteenth: *Not an imequal match for numbers.* They also 
knew that members of the party were in the process of separating 
from it, and would require conciliating. They met in the night 
at the then famous restaurant of Boulanger, giving to the assemb- 
lage the air of a convivial entertainment. It continued till mid- 
night, and required all the moderation, tact, and skill of the 
prime movers to obtain and maintain the tmion upon details, on 
the sucess of which the fate of the measure depended. The men 
of conciliation were to be the efficient men of that night; and all 
the winning resources of Wright, Allen of Ohio and Linn of 
Missouri, were put into requisition. There were serious differ- 
ences upon the mode of expiu-gation, while agreed upon the thing; 
and finally obliteration, the favorite of the mover, was given up; 
and the mode of expurgation adopted which had been propoesd 
in the resolutions of the General Assembly of Virginia; namely, 
to inclose the obnoxious sentences in a square of black lines, an 
oblong square: A compromise of opinion to which the mover 
agreed upon condition of being allowed to compose the epitaph — 
/Expunged by the order of the Senate.' The agreement which 
was to lead to victory was then adopted, each one severally 
pledging himself to it, that there should be no adjournment of the 
Senate after the resolution was called, until it was passed; and 
that it should be called immediately after the morning business 
on the Monday ensuing. Expecting a protracted session ex- 
tending through the day and night, and knowing the difficulty 
of keeping men steady to their work and in good humor, when tired 
and hungry, the mover of the proceeding took care to provide, 
as far as possible, against such a state of things; and gave orders 
that night to have an ample supply of cold hams, turkeys, roimd 
of beef, pickles, wines and cups of hot coffee, ready in a certain 
committee room near the Senate Chamber by four o'clock on 
the afternoon of Monday. 


On December 20, 1834, White let it be known that he was 
willing to be nominated for President of the United States, and 
the Tennessee Congressional delegation addressed him the follow- 
ing letter, to which he made reply. 

"Washington, December 29, 1834. 

**Dear Sir: You cannot be unapprised that for some time 
past yoiu* name has been frequently mentioned as a desirable 

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38 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

person to succeed the present Chief Magistrate of the United 

"Being your colleagues in Congress since the commencement 
of the present session, we have been repeatedly asked what were 
the sentiments of our own vState upon that subject, and more 
frequently, what were your own wishes, and what would likely 
be your course, should public opinion seem to require the use of 
yoiu- name as a candidate, and fears are often expressed that you 
would not give your consent. 

"Upon this latter point we are at some loss what answer to 

"It is our wish not to deceive ourselves, or to be the means of 
deceiving others. We will therefore esteem it a favor if you will 
put us in possession of yojir wishes and determinations. 
"Very respectfully, sir, 

"We are your obedient servants, 
"Wm. M. Inge, 
Balie Pe5rton, 
James Standifer, 
John Blair, 
W. C. Dunlap, 
Saml. Btmch, 
Jno. Bell, 
David Crockett, 
John B. Forrester, 
Luke Lea, 
David W. Dickenson." 

JUDGE white's answer. 

"Gentlemen: Your note dated yesterday was handed me a 
few minutes since. 

"I am aware that for some time past my name has been 
occasionally mentioned in our own State and elsewhere for the 
ofl&ce you mention. I had never supposed it would be so far 
acceptable to the public as to render an application to me necessary 
to ascertain my wishes or determination. 

"Not having taken any pains to ascertain public opinion upon 
that subject, I am, perhaps, less acquainted with the sentiments 
even of our own State than any of my colleagues. As to my own 
wishes and determination, I can have no difficulty in giving .you 
an answer. 

"I am not conscious that at any moment of my life I have 
ever wished to be President of the United States. I have never 
knowingly uttered a sentence, or done an act, for the purpose of 
inducing any person to think of me for that distinguished station. 
When tie duties and responsibilities of the office are considered, 
in my opinion it is an object more to be avoided than desired. 
I shaJl certainly never seek it while I have so little confidence in 
my own capacity to discharge the duties as I now have. 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 39 

"Those for whose benefit it was created, have a right to fill it 
with any citizen they may prefer, provided he is eligible by the 
Constitution and the person who would refuse to accept such an 
office, if offered by the people of the United States, ought to have 
a much stronger hold upon public opinion than I can ever hope 
to possess. 

"My most anxious wish is, that in any use you may think 
proper to make of my name, you may lose sight of every considera- 
tion except the public interest. I have not had any agency in 
causing it to be used, and I do not feel that I would be justified 
in directing the use of it to be discontinued. I can, however, 
with truth say, that if those political friends who have used it 
thus far, shsJl have reason to believe that a further use of it will 
be an injury, instead of a benefit to the country, and may choose 
to withdraw it, they will have my hearty concurrence. 
"I am, most respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"Hugh L. White." 

The Legislature of Tennessee on October 16th and 17th, 1835, 
placed White before the people of the United States as a candidate 
for President by preamble and resolution, which were communi- 
cated by letter to Judge White by a committee of the Senate and 
House to which White made reply. 


"WHEREAS, the people of the State of Tennessee in 1822, 
in 1825, and again in 1827, animated by a sincere determination 
to support those cardinal doctrines and principles which had 
distinguished the true republican party from the commencement 
of the Federal Government, up to that period, and also to correct 
and reform those practices which appeared to be erroneous, and 
to constitute abuses in the policy and administration of the govern- 
ment, brought forward General Andrew Jackson, our present dis- 
tinguished Chief Magistrate, as a person qualified by his principles, 
energy, and great popularity, to effect these objects. And where- 
as, among the most important of thsee objects were: 1st. To 
secure to the people the exercise of the right of suffrage in the 
election of the President of the United States, independent of the 
influence and dictation of caucus nomination^. 2d. To resist 
the establishment of the practice of electing the President of the 
United States according to any plan of regular succession among 
the great functionaries of the government. 3rd. The limitation 
and control of executive patronage within such safe and expedient 
bounds as to secxu-e the freedom and purity of the elective fran- 
chise against all undue official influences. And whereas, we are 
firmly persuaded that the principles upon which General Jackson 
was originally nominated and supported for the Presidency, by 

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40 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

the people of the State of Tennessee, have lost nothing of their 
truth or importance by the lapse of time, and change of circum- 
stances, we feel impelled by a proper regard for consistency, now, 
when again called upon, to reconsider them in reference to the 
choice of a successor or to reaffirm them by a renewed and solemn 

"In the organization and proceedings of the late Baltimore 
Convention we perceive the same violation of the spirit of the 
Constitution, the same tendency to a usurpation of the rights 
and powers of the people in the election of President, the same 
spirit of intrigue, the same liabihty in the members to be corrupted 
and influenced in their course by the promise and expectation 
of office, which we saw in the organization and proceedings of 
the Congressional caucus in 1823, and then condemned in the 
most public and solemn manner. 

**And whereas, no individual has been presented to the con- 
sideration of the American people as a candidate for the next 
Presidency, whose character and political opinions afiford the same 
guarantee for the maintenance of those principles which brought 
General Jackson into office, and for carrying out the principal 
measures of his administration, and which so well accord with 
the political sentiments of the people of Tennessee, as set forth 
in this preamble, as our fellow citizen, Hugh Lawson White — 

"Resolved, That Hugh Lawson White be recommended to the 
people of the United Statfes as a man eminently qualified to fill the 
office of President. 

"Resolved, That we approve generally of the principles and 
policy, both foreign and domestic, of the administration of the 
Federal government during the term of service of oiu* present dis- 
tinguished Chief Magistrate, General Andrew Jackson. 

''Speaker of the House of Representatives. 


"Speaker of the Senate. 

"Adopted in the House on the 16th, and concurred in by the 
Senate on the 17th of October, 1835." 

communicated to judge white. 

"Nashville, October 22, 1835. 

"To the Hon. Hugh L. White: 

Sir: The undersigned have been appointed a joint committee 
of both Houses of the General Assembly to inform you that the 
people of the State of Tennessee have by their representatives, 
nominated you to their fellow-citizens of the United States, for the 
ofl&ce of Chief Magistrate. 

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Committee on 
' the part of the 

Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 41 

'*This duty, we conceive, will be best discharged by communi- 
cating to you the preamble and resolutions adopted by both Houses 
of the General Assembly. Frotn them you will learn the principles 
on which the nomination was made. These, as also the attending 
circumstances, we take leave to say, appear to us no less honorable 
to the people of the State than to yourself. By this act they have 
shown a discrimination and devotion to principle worthy the im- 
itation of posterity. 

"We avail ourselves of this occasion to tender to you the assur- 
ances of oiu: esteem and veneration for your character, and our 
ardent wishes for your personal happiness. 

Wm. Ledbetter, ] ^ .^ ^, ^ 

Robt. H. Hynds, 0>««nittee on the part 
Teny^-Cahal, J of the Senate. 

Addison A. Anderson, 
Wm. McClain, 
Granville D. Searcy, 
Lion Rogers, 
G. W. Churchwell, 
Harvey M. Watterson, 
Wm. B. Campbell, 
J. A. Mabry, 
Charles Ready, 
Robertson Topp, 

JUDGE white's reply. 

''Nashville, October 23, 1835. 

"Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your commtmication under date of yesterday, inclosing a copy of a 

?reamble and resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of 
ennessee, recommending me as a suitable person to succeed the 
present Chief Magistrate of the United States. 

"To receive evidence at any time that the Representatives of 
the people of my own State continue to repose confidence in me 
would be highly gratif)ring; but at this particular time, and after 
such multiplied efforts have been unceasingly made from various 
quarters, to destroy my reputation, to receive such testimony of 
increased confidence is matter calculated to call forth my most 
profound acknowledgments. 

"Some of those who are members of the present General As- 
sembly, and who were members of the same body two years ago, 
can bear testimony to the fact that I earnestly endeavored to pre- 
vent my name from being submitted to the American people for 
the highest office within their gift, but my efforts have been un- 
availing. A state of things has been produced which induces a 
portion of my political friends to believe the interest of the country 
would be promoted by the use of my name as a candidate, and when 

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42 Andrew Jackson and Eaiuuy Tbnnissbe History 

applied to on various occasions, I have given my consent, and I 
now take this opportunity to state that this consent will not be 

"In common with a large majority of the citizens of Tennessee, 
I was an humble advocate of the principles set forth in the pream- 
ble to your resolutions. Time and increased experience have tend- 
ed to confirm me in the opinion that on the maintenance of these 
principles the liberties of the people of the United States essentially 

"From the formation of the Federal Constitution^ up to this 
time, there have been parties in the United States. Where they are 
separated upon principle the members of each may honestly belike 
the permanent welfare of the country depends upon having^^e 
government administered upon the principles which they advocate, 
and may honorably use every fair effort to elevate their own party, 
and put down their opponents. But when an attempt is made to 
create a party not founded upon any settled political principles, 
composed of men belonging to every political sect, having no com- 
mon bond of unity save that of a wish to place one of themselves 
in the highest oflSce known to the Constitution, for the purpose of 
having all the honors, offices and emoluments of the government 
distributed by him among his followers, I consider such an asso- 
ciation, whether composed of many of or few, a mere faction, which 
ought to be resisted by every man who loves his country, and 
wishes to perpetuate its liberty. 

**To conaliate the favor, or procure the support of any man or 
set of men, belonging to any party, I have not dianged, nor agreed 
to change, any one political principle I ever avowed. Those upon 
which I have heretofore practised shall continue be my guide in 
whatever situation I may be placed, so long a? I believe them to 
be correct; disdaining, as I hope I ever shall, an attempt to win my 
way to power upon one set of principles, and then to practise upon 

**Through you I beg leave to tender to the General Assembly 
my imfeigned and heartfelt thanks for this additional evidence of 
their continued and unbroken confidence, and for yourselves, be 
pleased to accept the assurance that I am with sentiments of the 
highest respect, 

**Your most obedt. servt., 

**HU. L. WHITE." 

White wrote another letter to E. Alexander of Tennessee, 
throwing light on the development of political events in that 
state at that time. 


''Washington, January 12, 1835. 
"My dear Sir: I have avoided, during the present session, 
writing to any person whom I have not been compelled to answer 
letters, for reasons obvious to you. 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 43 

** While society is employed in scrutinizing my character with 
a view to know whether they will wish to employ me in a public 
station different from that which I now occupy, I hold that I 
ought so to conduct myself as to give no reason to suspect that 
I am saying or doing an3rthing with a view to influence the public 

* 'Three of my colleagues, Grundy, Polk, and Johnson, think 
the use of my name as a candidate for the highest office known 
to oiu- government, may be the means of breaking up the demo- 
cratic party, that it will be disapproved by my own State, and 
that by not stopping the use of it, I am placing myself in a situ- 
ation that must destroy me at home, as well as abroad. In this 
view of things they are zealously and cordially supported by Judge 
Catron, who has been here some time. Mr. Laughlin from Nash- 
ville, arrived here on the 8th inst., and it is said comes here to 
aid these gentlemen by his services as a letter writer. 

**A11 the other representatives from Tennessee think differently 
and urge, in conversation, my pretensions, and represent the wishes 
of my State as being different from what is urged by Mr. Grundy 
and those who act with him. Which of them is right, I do not 
profess to know. All I have said, and all I will say is that I have 
had no agency in causing my name to be used and I will not pro- 
hibit the use of it. My political friends at home and abroad I 
hope and believe have not used it, and will not use it for any 
pmpose other than the interest of the coimtry and whenever they 
are satisfied the country will be injured, not benefited, by its 
use, they will give me sincere pleasure by withdrawing it. 

"Neither Mr. Gnmdy, Colonel Polk, Colonel Johnson, nor 
Judge Catron has ever alluded to the subject in conversation 
with me, and I cannot but feel it personally tmkind, that any of 
them should be injimng me in the judgment of strangers without 
knowiifg from ifa)rself whether I deserve their condemnation or not. 

"The honorable Judge is, I think, treating me with great un- 
kindness to give everyboidy else the benefit of the information he 
has acquired in his extensive travels, and withhold it all from me. 

"He is viewed by some of my friends as a political commissary, 
sent out to receive just such news as he has brought, and in con- 
sideration of his endeavors to detract from my standing here, and 
destroy me at home, he hopes to fill the first vacancy on the bench 
of the Supreme Court of the United States, which can with 
propriety be giv^ to him. In all this matter I feel no personal 
interest; a greater personal favor could not well be bestowed on 
me than by leaving me at home after the 4th of March next. 

"These people are preparing for a great effort in Tennessee 
next siunmer. They think they can send to the legislature such 
materials as will supersede me in the Senate. Thus dropped, my 
pretensions to an3rthing else are at an end. 

"I put up no pretensions to an)rthing and therefore can never 
be disappointed." 

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44 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

General Jackson being bitterly opposed to White's running for 
President, tried through friends to influence him to become a 
candidate for Vice-President on a ticket with Van Buren for 
President, or to accept a seat on the Supreme Bench of the United 
States, both of which White declined. 


The progress of the campaign for President is illustrated in 
two of White's letters to Honorable George W. Churchwell of 

**Senate Chamber, February 23, 1836. 

**My dear Sir: Your favor under date of the 8th instant was 
received, apparently safe, on yesterday. We have had, almost 
constantly, a state of very high excitement in Congress, and have 
as yet done but little, except talk. 

**The Globe has become more and more abusive. It is now 
plainly seen that I will neither be coaxed, nor driven from the 
position in which I have been placed by my political friends. 
The only alternative, therefore, is to destroy me if possible. I 
am charged with insincerity, duplicity, falsehood, suppressing the 
truth, etc., without stint. In addition, it is obvious the whole 
power and patronage of the executive is brought to bear. For 
all this, I care not. My leading friends here stand firm, and fear- 
lessly do their duty. How many of them may do so elsewhere, 
time alone will show. 

**I shall calmly, coolly, and without faltering, as well as I am 
able, discharge what I think the duty assigned me, without stop- 
ping to consider whether it will elevate or depress me in pubUc 

**The policy is to whistle off as many of my friends as possible, 
and to sacrifice the rest. 

**When the contest is over, even if left a private citizen, I 
would not exchange either feelings or character with the venerable 
Chief Magistrate. I intend to act, as far as God may enable me, 
upon the principles which I have ever avowed, which I believe 
are sound and correct. I will, therefore, have my own appro- 
bation: whereas, my old friend is in open disregard of the leading 
measures he professed to entertain when he sought power, and is 
saying, and countenancing others in saying, things against me, 
which he has the strongest reasons to believe are imjust and 

**Our French War is happily ended. Should the instructing, 
expunging resolutions have passed, I shall leave for home as soon 
as I can take the necessary preparations. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 45 

**If permitted to remain here, I have no doubt we shall have 
the names of some of Chu- Flying Squad in Tennessee before the 
the Senate for their pay. My health continues very good. 

**Most sincerely and truly, 

"Hu. L. White. 
••Hon. G. W. Churchwell." 

••Washington, June 18th, 1836. 

•'My dear Sir: I thank you most sincerely for your letter 
enclosed to Mr. Lea, and which he handed me on yesterday. 

••I see no reason to conclude that anything which has occiured 
liere during the session can have the effect of doing us harm; on 
the contrary, I think we may well flatter ouselves that progress 
has been made in giving to the people some useful information. 

••Ever)rthing in the power of the executive to do for the pur- 
pose of injuring me has been done, and I doubt not the same course 
will be continued. 

•*ln conformity with my own judgment, as well as what I 
beheve the wishes of my constituents, I have in every instance 
sustained the executive, excepting only in such measures as I 
beheve inconsistent with the great principles for which we all 
struggled when the present President came into power. 

••Strange as it may seem, I have no doubt the truth is, the 
President is exceedingly anxious that it should be known that 
his successor will have been elected by his means and influence; 
and I am perfectly convinced he intends to put down every man 
who dares to throw any obstacles in his way. 

"That the timid and calculating will yield to his wishes is 
according to the common course of things; as to myselt I am con- 
tent to await the result without anxiety. I will never yield to 
the dictation of any one man living, but will willingly abide the 
expressed will of a majority, be that what it may. That the 
patronage of the government has been used, is now being used, 
and will continue to' be used to influence public opinion, I firmly 
beheve. After the 4th March, 1837, the opinion and influence 
of General Jackson will be regulated entirely by the manner in 
which his whole public conduct shall be estimated by the com- 
mimity at large. 

**I venture one prediction, and that is that if he ever after 
that period should need friends, he will find very few among those 
he is now serving most zealously. 

•'Why should we try to prove our letters were broken? Who 
cares? Those who are profited by such villainy will only be the 
better pleased. All we can do in such cases is to state the truth 
as it is, whenever and wherever we please, and let others beheve 
or disbelieve us as best suits them. 

••You must expect and so you will find the truth to be, that 
you will have the opposition and enmity of all those who believe 
you are, or will be, in their way; and you will have better luck than 
I if you do not find those most bitter whom you have treated best. 

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46 Andrew Jackson and Early Tknnbsskk History 

"Patience and good temper under injustice is always the 
best policy. When people lie, live them down by exemplary 

"Your letter at the close of the session was received and 
answered. As you did not receive the answer, some one else 
received the benefit of it. 

"If ill usage could disgust any one with the world I ought to 
be disgusted; but I am not. When those who ought to treat 
me well, ill use. me, I am more than compensated by the friend- 
ship and support of those who are under no obligation to me. 
"Most sincerely and truly yours, 

"Hu. L. White. 
"George W. Churchwell, Esq." 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 47 



Hugh Lawson White— The State of Franklin— Resig- 
nation from the Senate — Death — Opinions 
of Judge White from Thomas H. 
Benton, Henry A. Wise €Uid 
Henry S. Foote. 


On March 24, 1838, the Sub-Treasury Bill was before the 
Senate, and Daniel Webster in his speech referred to the currency 
of the State of Franklin, to which Senator White replied: 

"The senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Webster), at the close 
of his reply to the senator from South Carolina, *for his special 
benefit,' in very good temper, and in a most happy manner, 
referred to the early history of that portion of my State, now 
called East Tennessee, once known as the State of Franklin. He 
read us a part of one of her acts of assembly, which fixed the 
salaries of some of her oflScers, and directed the species of currency 
in which they were to be paid. 

"I always feel gratified when I know or hear that my State 
has done an)rthing which benefits any portion of my fellow-men. 

" 'Blessed are the peace-makers,' is the language of Holy 
Writ. On this occasion the two honorable and distinguished 
senators had assumed an attitude so belligerent, that I really 
feared it might end in something worse than words. But no 
sooner were the labors of my State fifty years ago brought to 
the notice of this grave body, than we all forgot tiiat any of us 
had ever been out of temper, and so soon as we could recover 
composure enough to adjourn, we separated like a band of 
brothers — no two leaving the chamb^ in better temper with 
each other than the two honorable senators. 

"But, sir, the senator knew nothing of the practice under 
the State law, therefore, we have not the full benefit which we 
ought to derive from his reminiscence. He could have related 
the whole incidents so much better than I can, that I regret he 
did not mention this subject to me before he addressed the Senate; 
if he had I would have given him the additional facts, that the 
whole might have been detailed in the Senate in his good tem- 
pered and felicitous manner. 

"It will be remembered that the Governor, Chief Justice, and 
some other oflScers were to be paid in deer-skins, other inferior 

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48 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

oflScers were to be paid in raccoon-skins. Now, at that day, we 
were all good whigs, although we had some of the notions of the 
democracts of present days. 

**We thought these taxes might safely remain in the hands 
of the collectors as sub-treasuries imtil wanted for disbursement. 
The taxes were, therefore, fairly collected in the skins and peltry 
polluted out in the law. But the collectors, as report says, knew 
that although raccoon-skins were plenty, opossum-skins were more 
so, and that they could be procured for little or nothing. They, 
therefore, procured the requisite numbers of opossum-skins, cut 
off the tails of the raccoon-skins, sewed them to the opossum-skins, 
paid them into the general or principal treasury, and sold the 
raccoon-skins to the hatters. 

**The treasurer had been an unlucky appointment, although a 
worthy man; he was a foreigner, knew nothing of skins or peltry, 
and was therefore, easily deceived by his sub-treasurers. When 
this imposition was discovered the whole system went down, and 
we never have had a great fancy for leaving the taxes in the hands of 
the sub-treasurers or collectors from that day to this. 

*'But sir, these old proceedings more clearly developed the 
true character of my State than almost anything of the present 

"The territory or tract of coimtry called Franklin, was com- 
posed of four counties of North Carolina, and separated from the 
body of the State by the great ledge of mountains, called at 
different places by different names, and from what is now West 
Tennessee by the Cumberland Mountains, and a wilderness of 
two hundred miles. 

**The Revoluntionary War had terminated with Great Britain 
in 1783, but it continued with the powerful tribes of Indians who 
had been in alliance with her. The depredations of these Indians 
were so serious that aid to arrest their ravages was desired from 
North Carolina; that State was not in a situation to furnish pro- 
tection, and instead thereof, from good motives, no doubt, but 
without due consideration, passed an act ceding us to the United 
States. When the news was received, the leading men, who were 
King's mountain men, Sevier, the companion of the gallant 
Campbell and Shelby, at their head, took fire; the discontent 
ended in a declaration of independence, and the formation of the 
State called, to perpetuate our whig principles, *Franklin.' 

"North Carolina discovered her error, and, before Congress 
could act on the subject, repealed her act of cession. But it was 
too late. We had been disposed of without our consent. Though 
but a handful, with a powerful savage enemy infesting our whole 
frontier, and without a dollar to begin with, we set up for our- 
selves. We would not brook the indignity; we had begun the 
fight for liberty, and liberty or death we would have. We con- 
tinued the controversy till 1789, when an accommodation with 
our parent State took place; and with our own consent and upon 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennises History 49 

terms thought just, we, with other portions of territory, were 
ceded, in 1789, to the United States. 

**In 1796, we became the State of Tennessee, and how we 
have since conducted, I willingly leave to the judgment of our 
sister States. 

"I confess, instead of feeling humbled by, I am proud of, 
this ancient reminiscence. I feel proud that my ancestor was 
one of that imyielding band; that I now find myself associated 
here with a Sevier and a Tipton; and although I sometimes 
think two generations back those of their name would not have 
worked so tamely in party gear, yet every once in awhile the blood 
shows itself, and you can see, that if their home concerns are not 
attended to here, according to what is just, they break party 
bandages, and walk abroad in that freedom for which their 
fathers periled everything. 

"It is true we are neither whigs, tories, nor democrats by 
inheritance, but there is much in blood, much in education. Early 
lessons from mothers are apt to have an influence upon us through 
life. What the father say^ when he first sends his boy to school 
is hardly ever forgotten. 

"When that law was passed, and for years afterwards, the 
the first morning the son was to start for school, he was sure to 
receive the father's advice, in emphatic terms, calculated to 
make a lasting impression, in language like the following: *My 
son, you are now going to school, you must render a willing 
obedience to your master; he is in my place, obey him, if you love 
me. Be kind to all your school fellows, do nothing offensive or 
unjust to them. Be careful in all you say, and do not give any 
of them cause of offence, and, if they wiU quarrel with and abuse 
you, take care you never come home whipped by any one of them, 
if you have the power to prevent it.* 

"Children were taught from infancy the doctrine of equality, 
that no distinction ought to exist except that which was pro- 
duced by vice or virtue. 

"And as to circulating medium, this old act contains a volume 
of instruction for me. At that day, the medium of our exchanges 
was skin and peltry, or furs. They were the ciurency in which 
the people were obliged to transact their business, and my father, 
when voting for that law, thought it just that our officers, from 
the governor to the constable, should be paid in the same kind 
of currency which the people were compelled to use in their 
dealings with each other, and so think I now as to our federal 
officers. Such, I think, have been the opinions of a majority of 
my constituents from my youth to this day. 

"My wish is to carry into effect their will. If I had fortitude 
enough to venture into an unknown world, I would rather do so 
now, and upon this spot, than knowingly to give a vote upon a 
subject so important, which would disappoint the wishes of the 
companions of my youth, the associates of my maturer years, and 


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50 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnessbe History 

those who have ever sustamed me against all attacks, at every 
stage of life. 

"What I believe to be their will, corresponds with my own 
judgment on this subject; and, however much I may and do 
regret a difference of opinion with enlightened men from other 
States, yet I acknowledge no responsibility to any human power 
except to the citizens of my own State, who have so long honored 
me with their confidence." 

retirbmbnt from the senate. 

In 1838, in consequence of ill health, Judge White tendered 
his resignation from the United States Senate to Governor Can- 
non of Tennessee, who refused to accept it, and the legislature 
at that time being adverse to White, called on the Governor for 
the correspondence between him and White, and Governor Can- 
non made this reply: 

your resolution of the 1 1th instant, I have the honor to state 
that there is not in my possession, or in the executive depart- 
ment, or ever has been, a copy of the correspondence between 
the Hon. Hugh L. White and myself, touching his resignation as 
senator. No copy of the same has ever been taken, nor is his 
letter to me on that subject in my possession, or in the executive 
department, it having been retimied to him, by his request, a 
short time after it was received. I have kept no memorandum 
of this communication, nor do I now remember its precise date. 
I am imder the impression, however, that it was in the early 
part of November last, that I received a communication from this 
honorable senator informing me of the severe affliction he had 
suffered, and the very feeble state of his health at that time; also 
expressing his belief that he would not be able to reach Congress 
by the ensuing session. And in consequence of his inability, he 
proposed resigning his seat in the Senate of the United States 
in order that a pro tem appointment might be made by me in 
due time. On the reception of this letter, I determined to sus- 
pend my official action on the resignation thus tendered for a 
reasonable length of time, for the restoration of the health of our 
senator, sufficiently to enable him to proceed to the discharjge 
of his duties; which determination was communicated to him 
with such reasons and suggestions as at that time were deemed 
appropriate, and resulted in an acquiescence of the withdrawal of 
his letter containing the proposition to resign, which was retimied 
to him by his request, without my acceptance of his resignation, or 
my official action on it in any way whatever. 

**This is according to the best of my recollection the sub- 
stance of the correspondence which took place between the honor- 
able senator and myself during the time and on the subject 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 51 

referred to in your resolution. His praiseworthy course on this 
occasion afforded to my mind strong additional, evidence (to a 
long coiu-se of the most faithful public services) of the most ex- 
alted and refined sense of honor and honesty by which he has 
been influenced, and few exsCmples of which have been set before 

us by the public men of our times. It has seldom happened 
that those occupjring similar situation, whether in reference to 
the general or State Governments, have shown, under such 
circumstances, equal patriotism and devotion to the public in- 
terests, and in the assumption of authority on my part, which 
has been exercised in this case by me as executive of the State, 
I am conscious of having been influenced by honest views of the 
interest of the people for whom I have acted, together with what 
was due imder the circumstances, to a well tried and faithful 
public servant; and in assuming the responsibiliiy which belongs 
to the station I have occupied, in the discharge of this part of 
my duty I cannot for a moment believe that I have miscon- 
strued the just and generous character of the peopleof our State, 
or that of their senators in the legislature, with regard to the kind 
and indulgent feelings which animate them towards those faith- 
ful public servants who have rendered faithful and important 
services to oiu* country, to every citizen of which, as weU as to 
your honorable body, I feel equally responsible for every official 

*'Very respectfully, 

* 'Newton Cannon. 
"Executive office, Nashville, October 12th." 

Judge White held to the doctrine that a State legislature had 
the right to instruct United States Senators on any question ex- 
cept constitutional questions, and the legislature of Tennessee 
knew that the Judge was opposed to the Sub-Treasiuy bill and 
had annotmced that he would not vote for it. On January 13, 
1840, Senator Wright called up the Sub-Treasiuy bill in the United 
States Senate for consideration, and, prior thereto. Judge White 
had been instructed by the Legislature of Tennessee to vote for 
the bill. 

Whereupon Judge White by permission of the Senate, read 
his answer to the Legislature, in which he declined to vote for 
the bill. This answer is too long to be reproduced here, but we 
insert the concluding paragraphs of it. 

** *Names are nothing with me.' My motto is, 'Principles 
in preference to men;' while I sometimes think that of some 
of my opponents ought to be, *Men without principles;* though 
I would be sorry to intimate that such a motto would suit your 
honorable body. 

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52 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

'*I shall trouble you with no further observations on these 
important topicfs. It has been my aim to state my opinions 
with candor, and to maintan them with firmness; but, at the 
same time, to treat your honorable .body with the most perfect 

**I was called to the service of my State fifteen years ago, 
without any solicitation on my part. With reluctance I accepted 
the high station I now occupy. I have been continued in it, 
perhaps, too long for the interest of the country. I have been 
thrice elected, by the unanimous vote of yoiu* predecessors. My 
services have been rendered in times of high party excitement, 
sometimes threatening to burst asimder the bonds of this Union, 
and your resolutions contain the high compliment that bitter 
pohtical opponents can find only a solitary vote worthy, in their 
judgment, of *unquahfied condemnation.' 

**I hope it will be in your power to select a successor who 
can bring into the service of the State more talents. I feel 
a proud concsiousness that more piuity of intention, or more 
unremitting industry, he never can. 

**For the sake of place, I will never cringe to power. You 
have instructed me to do those things which, entertaining the 
opinions I do, I fear I would not be forgiven for, either in this 
world or in the next; and practising upon the creed I have long 
professed, I hereby tender to you my resignation of the trust 
confided to me, as one of the senators from the State of Tennessee 
to the Congress of the United States. 

"Allow me to add my sincere prayer that the Governor of the 
Universe may so over-rule our discussions as to secure the liberty 
and promote the prosperity of our common constituents. 
**I have the honor to be, gentlemen, 

**Your obedient servant, 

"Hugh L. White. 
•'Senate Chamber, January 11, 1840." 

He then made his final adieu to the Senate. 

**Mr. President. I have now finished my task; henceforth, I 
am to cease being a member of this body. I cannot share with 
former associates the honors, the privileges, or the emoluments 
of a senator in the Congress of the United States. At the same 
time, I will be relieved frgm my portion of the labors, and from 
sharing with you the high responsibilities which necessarily per- 
tain to the station. 

**In taking my leave of you, in the utmost sincerity my prayers 
are, that collectively and individually you may be enabled to 
pursue a r course which will afford you the highest comforts in 
this life; and that your labors may be so blessed as to secure you 
the grateful remembrances of the present and all succeeding 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 53 

He was now a private citizen and on January 17, 1840, a dinner 
was given him by friends in Washington, which the leading men 
of the comitry attended, and made speeches, and soon after he 
started on his journey to Knoxville. 


His death occurred April 10, 1840, and the Bar of Knoxville, 
citizens of Nashville, and the Bar of West Tennessee at Jackson, 
all took action. 

action of knoxville, TENNESSEE, BAR. 

The following preamble and resolutions were unanimously 

*'A great man has FALLEN IN ISRAEL! 

'*This day, about the hour of nine o'clock, at his residenc near 
this place, the Hon. Hugh L. White ceased to exist. Hence- 
forth he will live only in the memory of his friends and his country- 
men. He was certainly a great and worthy man; a friend to 
truth, virtue, liberty, and the Constitution. His was a hfe of 
labor and activity, a life of usefulness, moderation, regular con- 
duct, and inflexible integrity. The law was his profession. By 
his fair, open, and manly conduct he won the sincere affection 
and approbation of all his contemporaries. He was an agreeable 
and eloquent speaker. In him were happily blended a profound 
judgment, and accomplished address. In him the imfortunate 
and the honest ever found a protector, while the guilty were 
marked for punishment. Raised to the highest office in his pro- 
fession, he did honor to the station, and was among the greatest 
and ablest magistrates that ever lived among us. Elevated to a 
seat in the United States Senate, he maintained that purity of 
character which marked his private life. He loved the Consti- 
tution, not would he consent to forced construction of that in- 
strument for the oppression of the people. The future historian 
will not fail to record his virtues. We all know that his private 
character was without blemish; he was an affectionate husband, 
a kind parent and a steadfast friend. In short, he died as he lived, 
a true repubUcan, an ardent advocate of the rights of man, and 
an enemy to arbitrary power. 

"Resolved, That in token of oiu- high respect and esteem for 
the private virtues, and public character of the deceased, we will 
wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days. 

''Resolved, That the foregoing preamble and resolutions be 
presented by the Hon. Edward Scott, on tomorrow morning, to 
the Chancery Coml now in session in this place, with the request 
that the same be entered on the record of the Court. 

"Resolved, That we tender to the family and relatives of the 
deceased our sincere condolence on their late distressing bereave- 

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54 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ment, and that the Secretary furnish them with a copy of these 

action of citizens op NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE. 

The following preamble and resolutions were adopted: 


*'Hugh Lawson White has passed off the stage of the great 
theatre of life! Well and nobly has he sustained the high char- 
acter for which he was cast. Would that the ciutain of mor- 
tality had not fallen, till the epilogue to his eventful life had all 
been acted out and spoken, in the surely vindicating future. 
Quod scriptum scriptum est! *What is written, is written.' 
Yes! in the court above, the decree, how truly irreversible! has 
been entered up : and the name and virtues and services of Judge 
White are become the priceless inheritance of his country. Con- 
spicuous among those of his day, to whom it has happened to 
have lived, acted and spoken under the scrutinizing eye of history, 
he has labored for the benefit of his coimtry, as truly as ever a 
man toiled for his family. 

'Illustrious by the eminence of his virtues, the usefulness of 
his talents, the importance of his functions, his character needs 
no indeterminate communications, no accumulated epithets, 
no didactic reflections. His merits require no exaggeration. 
He had nothing to dissemble. His history, written with faith- 
fulness, will be his best eulogium. *He hath so planted his honors 
in our eyes, and his actions in our hearts, that for our tongues 
to be silent, and not confess so much, were an ungrateful injury; 
to report otherwise, were a malice, that giving itself the lie, would 
pluck reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it.* 

"The spontaneous feeling of unaffected sorrow, which has 
here convened the friends of the deceased, can find but imperfect 
expression in these extemporaneous and preliminary proceedings. 
We pause at the threshold till, some orator, worthy of his subject, 
shall bid us enter, with becoming awe, the temple of his fame. 

*'From the age of thirteen, roughly disciplined in the border 
life of Tennessee; at nineteen, acting a manly part in savage 
warfare; a judge at the early age of twenty-eight, and for twelve 
years giving universal satisfaction by able, and in many instances 
important decisions; twelve years president of the Bank of Ten- 
nessee, it was always prosperous by his prudent and wise coimsel; 
a Senator in the State legislature ; district attorney of the United 
States; Commissioner between Virginia and Kentucky in the 
settlement of important land claims, and again, imder the Spanish 
treaty. In all these varied trusts, equally honest and capable, 
he was the exact, efficient man of business; twice was he elected 
without opposition to the Senate of the United States, and on a 
memorable occasion, when in the conflict of great principles, 
an arbiter was needed to control giant minds, he was chosen 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnessbb History 55 

to preside over that body. As self-poised and magnanimous in 
declining honors, as in accepting office, he refused a seat on the 
bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, and more than 
once a place in the cabinet of the federal executive. In a public 
career of forty years, of spotless integrity, with a rare disinter- 
estedness, he twice refused compensation, to a large amount^ 
for most valuable public services. 

"Nor is the reverse of the medal less beautifully defined. 
His private life exhibited the perfect harmony of his whole charac- 
ter; and so attractive has it ever been, that his numerous friends 
have regarded him more with the sentiments of paternal affection, 
and the tenderness of a near relationship, than with the ordinary 
feelings which attach a public man to his constituents. Accord- 
ingly they have rejoiced at his well deserved success, or have been 
indignant at the ungrateful retiuns which the best benefactors 
often receive, and in all vicissitudes they have felt his reputa- 
tion dear to them as their own personal concern, and they still 
"*Wear him in their heart's core; ay, in their heart of hearts.* 

** Ungrateful returns! They were the v6uchers of his uncom- 
promising integrity and consistency; they were the evidences of 
his greatness! 

"When attacked, he defended himself beyond all ordinary 
powers of endurance, with the weapons of truth, and the bravery 
of conscious uprightness. That reputation which grows, as the 
oak, through all changing seasons amidst alternate storms and 
sunshine, shall still be firmly rooted and majestic, when the 
rude tempests of party strife are all blown over. The subject 
of oiu" eulogy has been in this triumphant, that his last days were 
the best witne^es of his worth. Death only could subdue him* 
'Without fear and without reproach,* he had a right to demand an 
honorable discharge; but his self sacrificing, generous love of coun- 
try, brought him to Hie foremost place in that hot fire in which 
we are now engaged. He has died in his armor, covered with 
glory. 'His end lamented by the good, by none more than by us.' 

"Dear let his memory be, and proud his grave! 

And this his epitaph: *He lived, he fought 
For truth and wisdom, foremost of Jthe brave. 

Him glory's idle fancies dazzled not, 
'Twas his ambition, generous and great, 

A life to life's great end to consecrate!' 

'* *He came to his grave in full age, like a shock of comcometh 
in, in his season!' Full of years, and of just honors full, the ven- 
erable White 'rests from his labors and his works do follow him.' 

"Resolved, That we lament the death of the Hon. Hugh L. 
White, as a great calamity; in which our sense of loss to that cause 
to which he was more especially pledged in the present posture 
of public affairs, is merged in condolence with the good, the 
enlightened, and the libenil of all parties. 

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56 Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 

**Resolved, That it be suggested to the whig electors to wear 
the usual badge of mourning ninety days. 

"Resolved, That we deeply s)ntnpathize with the immediate 
family of the deceased, and that a copy of these proceedings be 
transmitted to them, as an expression of our condolence. 

"Resolved, That the record of these proceedings, signed by the 
Chairman and Secretary, be published in the newspapers at 


The following resolutions were adopted: 

"Resolved, That in his death the Bar erf this State has sus- 
tained the loss of a most distinguished ornament; the people of 
Tennessee, of a long tried and faithful servant; society, of a 
good and useful citizen; his family, of a kind father and aflfection- 
ate husband; mankind, of one of the noblest of the race. 

"And, therefore, that we are penetrated with feelings of an 
unfeigned sorrow and regret upon the occasion of his death; 
and that the members of the Bar of West Tennessee, assembled 
at this meeting, respectfully and affectionately tender their con- 
dolence and sympathy to his bereaved family. 

"Resolved, That a copy of the proceedings of this meeting 
be presented to the Supreme Coiut at this place, with the request 
that the same may be entered on the minutes of the Court; and 
that a copy be addressed to the family of the deceased; 

"And that a copy be furnished for the press, with a request 
that the proceedings may be published. 

* * And that the same be signed by the chairman and Secretaries. * ' 

On ^^onday, April 20, 1840, the resolutions were presented to 
the Supreme Court of Tennessee, then in session at Jackson, 
with the request that they be spread on the minutes of the court, 
to which request Judge W. B. Reese replied on behalf of the 

"We have been requested to cause to be spread upon the 
records of this court, a copy of the proceedings of a meeting of 
the members of the bar of West Tennessee, in attendance at the 
present term, intended by them as a testimonial of their regret 
for the death, and their respect for the memory of the Hon. 
Hugh L. White. We promptly and cordially assent to this 

"We received with the liveliest sensibility and profoundest re- 
gret, the melancholy intelligence that one so long and so eminently 
distinguished as a member of our profession, and as a judge 
of this court, is no more to be numbered among the living. The 
individual upon whom has devolved the duty of responding to 
the request of the gentlemen of the bar, has known the deceased 
intimately for the last twenty years. The traits of his character 
were strongly marked. His intellect was imusually active, acute, 
clear and vigorous. He had great firmness of purpose and energy 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 57 

of will, and if his temper was ardent, and his emotions sometimes 
intense, he had a prudence, discretion and fairness which directed 
his efforts to right ends by the use of proper means. His pro- 
fessional career commenced about the time when this State 
became a member of the Union, and he rose at once to honorable 
distinction. Although his preparation, scholastic and professional, 
as might be expected from the character of the country and the 
times, was rather acciu^te and useful than extensive, still, such 
were the endowments of his mind, and the strength of his char- 
acter, that for forty-five years, and to the last, he kept up with 
the improvements of society and the development of our insti- 
tutions, and never lost that position in the very first rank of his 
profession with which he set out. As a lawyer, he was ever at 
his post and always prepared. As a speaker at the bar, he was 
animated, argumentative and eminently impressive; force and 
perspicuity were his striking attributes. As a judge, he was 
courteous, dignified, impartial and able. This elevated station 
he reached at an early age, and he largely contributed by the 
purity of his personal character and the energy, wisdom and 
justice of his official actions, to impress upon a new community 
that respect for, and submigsion to, an enlightened administration 
of the law, which has in all times and imder all circumstances 
since, so honorably distinguished them. 

**The moral quaHties of Hugh L. White were of the first order. 
Truth, that basis upon which must rest all the virtues, he strongly 
loved, and scrupulously practiced. His integrity was inflexible; 
no example of others, no fashion of the the times could tempt him, 
for a moment, into any transaction, questionable in the motive 
or equivocal in the tendency. He was an honest man, and ever 
kept his escutcheon stainless; and this he himself regarded as the 
highest and most honorable point in personal character. As a 
husband, a father and neighbor, he was all that a man, such as 
we have described him, could be expected to be. His long and 
active life brought him in contact with society at points which 
we mean not here to discuss. He was much in the political 
service of his coimtry; even here we may be permitted to expess 
the individual conviction that the period is not distant, when the 
turmoils of the present moment having passed by, few, if any, 
of his coimtrymen will be foimd to question the motives of his 
public conduct, or to deny that, in all the solid and essential 
qualities of a virtuous patriot and an enlightened statesman, 
he was eminently distinguished among the men of his time." 

Three as valuable opinions of Judge White as ever appeared, 
come from three men, each of whom was a lawyer and a politician 
as White was, and all of whom knew him well. They are Thomas 
H. Benton, who served with him in the United States Senate, 
and recorded his opinion in his * 'Thirty Years' View," Henry 

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58 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

A. Wise, who was a Representative in Congress when White was 
in the Senate, and whose opinion is fotmd in his *'Seven Decades 
of the Union," and Henry S. Forte, who left his estimate of him 
in his * 'Bench and Bar of the South and Southwest." We present 
these in the order named. 


**This resignation took place imder circumstances, not fre- 
quent, but sometimes occurring in the Senate, that of receiving 
instructions from the General Assembly of his State, which 
either operate as a censure upon a senator, or require him to do 
something which either his conscience, or his honor forbids. 
Mr. White at this time, the session of 1839-*40, received instruc- 
tions from the General Assembly of his State which affected 
him in both ways; condemning past conduct, and prescribing 
a future course which he could not follow. He had been demo- 
cratic from his youth, came into the Senate, had grown aged as 
such; but of late years had voted generally with the whigs on their 
leading measures, and classed politically with them in opposition 
to Mr. Van Buren. In these circumstances he received instruc- 
tions to reverse his course of voting on these leading measures, 
naming them; and requiring him to support the administration 
of Mr. Van Buren. He consulted his self respect, as well as 
obeyed a democratic principle; and sent in his resignation. It 
was the conclusion of a public life which disappointed its whole 
previous course. From his youth he had been a popular man, and 
that as the fair reward of conduct, without practising an art to 
obtain it, or even seeming to know that he was winning it. Bred 
a lawyer, and coming early to the bar, he was noted for a probity, 
modesty and gravity, with a learning, ability, assiduity and 
patience, which marked him for the judicial bench; and he was 
soon placed upon it, that of the Superior Court. Afterwards, 
when the judiciary of the State was remodelled, he was placed 
upon the bench of the Supreme Court. It was considered a 
favor to the public to get him to take the place. That is well 
known to the writer of this view, then a member of the General 
Assembly of Tennessee, and the author of the new modeled 
judiciary. He applied to Judge White, who had at that time re- 
turned to the bar, to know if he would take the place; and con- 
sidered the new system accredited with the public, on receiving 
his answer that he would. That was all he had to do with getting 
the appointment; he was elected unanimously by the General 
Assembly, with whom the appointment rested. That is about 
the way in which he received all his appointments, either from 
his State or from the federal government, merely agreeing to 
take the oflSce if it was offered to him; but not always agreeing 
to accept; often refusing as in the case of a cabinet appointment 
offered him by President Jackson, his political and personal 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 59 

friend of forty years' standing. It was long before he would enter 
a political career, but finally consented to become Senator in 
the Congress of the United States; always discharging the duties 
of an oflSce, when accepted, with Uie assiduity of a man who felt 
himself to be a machine in the hands of his duty; and with an 
integrity of purpose which left his name without spot or stain. 
It is beautiful to contemplate such a career, sad to see it set imder 
a doud in his advanced years. He became alienated from his 
old friends, both personally and politically, even from General 
Jackson; and eventually fell under the censure of his State, as 
above related, that State, which for more than forty years, had 
considered it a favor to itself that he should accept the highest 
oflSce in her gift. He resigned. in January and died in May, 
his death accelerated by the chagrin of his spirit; for he was a 
man of strong feelings, though of such measured and quiet de- 
portment. His death was announced in the Senate by the Senator 
who was his colleague at the time of his resignation, Mr. Alexander 
Anderson; and the motion for the usual honors to his memory 
was seconded by Senator Preston, who pronoimced on the oc- 
casion a eulogium on the deceased as just as it was beautiful.'' 

from hbnry a. wise. 

**We were at the time living at the same house with Judge 
White, and proud of his intimacy and confidence. He was one 
of the best judges of men and things we have ever known, and one 
of the purest and most exalted patriots who ever served his coun- 
try, always imselfishly, with a stem virtue and the strongest sense 
of duty, but ever touched by the tenderest devotion and affection. 
He was grave, tacitiun, and laborious, always conscientiously 
exact, strict, and precise, and abhorred every form of deceit, 
injustice, or want of ingeniiosness. He committed himself rarely 
and slowly, but once committed he was immovable as a rock unless 
convinced of a wrong, and was wholly inapproachable by any 
indirection or circumvention. His knowledge of the intrigues 
going on around him was inexplicable and the thoughtfulness 
by which he discerned and resolved them almost awed one as by 
the presence of a seer whose prophecies were certain to be realized. 
He was very thin, tall, and ghostly in appearance, but was physi- 
cally very sinewy and strong, and had immense capacity for labor. 
His eyes were a clear blue, but small, and so deepset that when he 
drew his brows over them in thought or conversation they looked 
.like black diamonds, scintillating various sparkling lights; and 
his lips were so compressed that he wore an appearance not only 
of firmness but also of constant restraint and self-command. 
He was always terribly in earnest, yet at times enjoyed humor, such 
as that of the inimitable Bailie Peyton, and when he did smile, 
which was seldom, it was the sweetest smile we ever caught from 
lip or cheek of man. He was a great and good man, without fear 
and without reproach. 

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60 Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 

"One evening in the session of 1838-39, Mr. Clay and Mr. 
Bell called upon us at our room and at once opened up on their 
desire and purpose to ascertain whether Judge White expected 
to be nominated again for the Presidency, and if not, whether 
he would support Mr. Clay, or whom he would support. They 
said they came to us because we had better access to him on 
that subject than any of oiu* colleagues, who desired not to seem 
as presuming even that he would not permit his name again to 
be used. They all loved him, preferred him to any other hving 
man, but knew he could not be nominated, and therefore they 
felt great delicacy in approaching him on the subject. Mr. 
Clay desired to know his views, and above all, desired to have his 
influence. We told him that there was but one way proper in 
which to approach Judge White. It was useless to attempt it 
by indirection, or by circumlocution or circumvention. He had 
to be approached with the naivete of a little child; one would 
have to go, as it were, to his knee, look up in his venerable face, 
with truth and innocence on one's brow, and say, * Judge White, 
Mr. Clay and Mr. Bell requested me to ask, *Will you please 
stand out of Mr. Clay's way and give him your influence for the 

**Mr. Clay laughed heartily, and said that he believed honesty 
was the best policy with Judge White, and he left it to us to take 
our own way; he was certain it would not be like that of any one 
else. He was reminded that Judge White was not to be treated 
like any other man; that if diplomacy was attempted with him, 
he was so godlike in wisdom and so instinct with virtue that he 
would divine one's thought before fully fit for his inspection; 
and that if any arts of address were used with him, he would give 
a look which no one would wish to meet, but not a word would 
be got from him. We would see him at their instance, and report 
in due time. 

'*After tea one evening succeeding this interview, Judge White 
had retired to his room, we tapped at his door, and were at once 
admitted. He was at his table, as usual, arranging his papers 
for the night's labors, but laid everything aside upon our entrance, 
and, without equivoque or reserve, we told him at once the object 
of our visit. 

"His face had at times very singular expressions. Whenever 
his attention was suddenly arrested by some important matter 
new to him, presenting new aspects, or revealing fully some 
suspected . facts or truths, there would be, involuntarily as it 
were, a slow contraction of his brow, a Close compression of his 
lips, and a rapid working of his nasal muscles and nostrils, with 
a hard and audible rapid breathing. He heard us through, as 
he always did everybody, and quickly this singular expression 
come over his countenance, and he sat breathing and musing 
in silence. We rose after a few moments, saying that, having 
discharged our mission, we would retire. He immediately arose. 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari<y Tennessee History 61 

took us by the hand, and said, warmly, that we could not have 
done him a greater political favor; and Mrs. White, his good, 
kind wife, remarkable for her discernment, dignity, and good 
sense, stepped to the door and added her especial thanks. 

**We left him to his own reflections, confident that they would 
be wise and prudent; and in a few days our confidence in him 
was confirmed. He came, after taking his own time, to our room, 
and there and then explained his past coiu-se and motives, reviewed 
the then current political events, disclosed his own purposes and 
resolutions, discussed the politics and prospects of every probable 
condidate for the Presidency, and opened a vista of prophecy 
for twenty-five years of the future of the United States, which 
has since been so siuprisingly fulfilled that we never think of him 
and of that conference without wonder. He reminded us how 
he had been compelled, by the dictation of General Jackson as 
to his successor, to allow his name to be used for the presidential 
nomination in the year 1836. He never desired the nomination, 
but had been obliged to accept it, in order to resist dictation 
and to meet the charge that he was misrepresenting his State 
and her people in opposing Mr. Van Buren. 

"He had nm, in fact, for Tennessee alone, and Tennessee had 
amply vindicated his course against every appeal and appliance 
of Andrew Jackson himself. That was sufficient for him, and 
he claimed no more. He s^id that he knew too well the aspira- 
tions and machinations of men and parties and factions at Wash- 
ington, and the probability of events, not to know that he had 
no chance for another nomination, but that even if the chances 
for it were good, or the best, he had no desire for the Presidency; 
that he was then an aged man, had lost many of the most precious 
objects of life, was trying to make his latter days like those of 
a Christian about to depart to a better world, had no longer any 
aspirations in this world but to see his country remain free and 
prosperous, preferred retirement, and' was preparing to die in 
peace, and he must not be deemed or suspected as in the way of 
any aspirant. That was the solution of the first problem ; he would 
not again accept a nomination for the Presidency.** 


"Thus closed the public career of one of the most meritorious 
personages that the State *of Tennessee has ever held within her 
confines; a man who, alike in domestic and social life, was an 
exemplar of moral purity and disinterested patriotism; honest, 
' sincere, scrupulously truthful, pure-minded and resolute in the 
performance of duty; of a lofty and independent spirit; an in- 
flexible devotee to the principles which he had in early life espoused 
and to which he ever adhered, regardless of the fascinations of 
place, the insidioixs persuasives of professing friends, or the menaces 
of party proscription; unjust to no man; affable and courteous 
towards all with whom he had intercourse; not easy to take 

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62 Andrew Jackson and Eari<y Tennessee History 

oflFence, but, if wronged or insulted, quick to resent, and per- 
severing in his efforts to bring the aggressor to a proper sense of 
his own injustice; yet placable and forgiving upon a proper show 
of atonement, and ever ready to mstke a charitable allowance 
for the weaknesses, petty abberrations, or honest mistakes of others. 
Few men have ever lived who possessed a mind more acute and 
vigorous; a judgment more unerring, both as to men and the 
affairs in which they have to deal; a quicker and more profound 
prescience of the future, or a more unerring divination of the 
motives which ordinarily influence men in public station. His 
style of composition was not unlike that of Chief Justice Mar- 
shall — plain, direct, forcible; free from everything like tawdry 
rhetorical ornaments, and fastening his own convictions upon 
the minds of other men with a logic which nothing could resist, 
and with a mild but earnest persuasiveness whidh rendered it 
delightful to agree with him, and painful to dissent from one 
so unassuming, so gifted, and so wise. His industry when engaged 
in the performance of judicial functions was most unremitting; 
though there was nothing in him of that blustering and ostenta- 
tious activity and self importance sometimes displa3ring itself 
so disgustingly upon the bench; his demeanor in the sanctuary 
of justice was always marked with serenity, with patience, and with 
a vigilance which knew no relaxation; and the decisions which 
he from time to time rendered in cases of the most difficult and 
exciting character were imiformly such as gave the most com- 
plete satisfaction both to the bar and the country. Law, as a 
science, he had fully explored; his mind was a storehouse of well- 
digested juridical principles; and he had conceived in his early 
life, and cherished to the day of his death, a high and elevated 
sense of the dignity of the legal profession. As a constitutional 
lawyer it is doubtful whether the Republic has ever produced 
Judge White's superior, and some of his most elaborate speeches 
in Uie National Senate upon important questions of finance, 
are perhaps as valuable specimens of politico-economical dis- 
cussion as can anywhere be found. It cannot be said that Judge 
White was endowed with a brilliant and fervid imagination; he 
had no claim to be recognized as a man of sparkling wit; and 
he very rarely indulged in mere humorous allusion; but, on several 
well known occasions, whilst he was a member of the Senate 
of the United States, he displayed not ap little power in the departe 
ment of satire, and, on the spur of the occasion, when under th- 
influence of special irritation, spoke in a tone of caustic and 
withering severity, which was not the less effective perhaps by 
reason of its being so little in unison with his accustomed manner 
of speaking in this dignified and illustrious body. Could Judge 
White's proud and independent natiu-e have permitted him to 
submit, with a tameness and servility now so common, to the 
exacting and heartless rules of party discipline, it is not to be 
doubted that it was in his power to have reached the Presidential 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssse History 63 

station; and no unprejudiced man will be now inclined to deny, 
in view of much that has been occurring during the last forty 
years, that his advent to power in the year 1837 might have been 
attended with many beneficial results, and have saved the men 
of this generation from the experience of evils the magnitude 
and detrimental influence of which could scarcely be overestimated. 
'*As a forensic advocate Judge White was distinguished as 
much as any lawyer of his time, by his modest and tmassiuning 
manner, his freedom from all affectation and parade, the sim- 
plicity and aptness of his illustrations, and his marvelous powers 
of condensation. Cicero has told us, in his *Orator,* that the 
'eloquent speaker is a man who speaks in the fonun and in civil 
causes in such manner as to prove, to delight, and to persuade.* 
This seems to me as precise and accurate a description of Judge 
White as could well be drawn.*' 

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64 Andrew Jackson and Eari<y Tennessee History 



1 Reid, Aide and Military Secretary to Jackson 
— ^His Letters from the Indian War and 
Battle of New Orleans. 


Major John Reid who was aide and military secretary to General 
Jackson through the Indian wars and at the battle of New Orleans 
and until his death January 18, 1816, was bom in Bedford County, 
Virginia, in 1784, and received a classical education. He read 
law, and moved to Tennessee, then a sparsely settled wilderness, 
in 1807, and located in Rutherford County. Two years later, in 
1809, he married and moved to Franklin, in Williamson County, 
and entered the practice of law. The war began and steps 
were taken to prepare for General Jackson's expedition to Natchez, 
Mississippi; upon the recommendation of Colonel Thomas H. 
Benton, who lived in Franklin, and who was serving on General 
Jackson's staff, young Reid was appointed aide and military secre- 
tary, and his appointment signed by General Jackson, was in the 
handwriting of Colonel Benton. He was ensign of 1st Infantry 
April 21, 1806; 2nd Lieutenant December 9, 1807; resigned Janu- 
ary 31, 1809; Captain of 44th Infantry July 15, 1814; transferred 
to 1st Infantry May 17, 1815; 1st Major December 23, 1814, for 
gallant conduct at New Orleans; died January 18, 1816. On 
December 14, 1813, he wrote to his m6ther in Virginia in refer- 
ence to his proposed military duties. 


"Well, what do you think of my going to the wars. General 
Jackson has lately been ordered from here with fifteen hundred 
men to New Orleans, and has appointed me an aide. He will 
join the army under General Willdnson which I think will move 
against West Florida. The men are all ready and we expect to 
leave Nashville on Christmas Day. I beg you will not suffer 
yourself to be made uneasy on account of my going. The detach- 
ment will hardly be kept South during the summer season and 
I will probably return in the spring; that is, if I go, which de- 
pends upon my ability to arrange my affairs in time, and the state 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari<y Tennessee History 65 

of my health, not yet fully restored. The appointment is the 
only one I would have accepted as it is the only one (as my duties 
will principally be those of military secretary to the General) 
that I feel competent to discharge creditably. Betsy (his wife) 
is as busy as a bee and is not crying." 

On January 15, 1814, Major Reid again writes to his mother 
from Franklin : 

"You will doubtelss be surprised to find this letter dated as 
above, as you had probably begun to look for one from New Orleans 
or Pensacola. General Jackson embarked at Nashville on the 
10th inst. with fourteen or fifteen himdred infantry. The cav- 
alry which goes by land amounts to six or seven hundred, left this 
place a few days ago, the whole force making about two thousand 
men, or five hundred more than the President called for. I had 
expected to join the General near the mouth of the Cum- 
berland where he would remain a while to take in supplies; 
but having experienced a slight relapse of my late illness, I was 
advised that it would be entirely too hazardous for me to venture 
upon the river in so severe a season. When I see such a number 
of the 'choice spirits of the country* (as Burr calls them), going, 
I am ashamed to stay behind; perhaps Providence designs better 
for me than I can now see or understand.*' 

He notified General Jackson of his inability to go, to which 
Jackson replied : 


"I regret exceedingly the indisposition that prevents you from 
accompanying me. I anticipated much benefit from your aid. 
This has been severe weather upon the health of us all, and an 
exposure before yours is reinstated might be fatal, and yoiu* 
talents not only now lost to me, but forever to your coimtry. 
The risk of this to gratify my wishes would be more than I could 
ask. I was fearful from yoiu* appearance when you left me that 
you would not be able to proceed with me on the present campaign. 
Be careful of your health. We have just commenced a war that 
will call into requisition our best talents. Save your constitution 
and health; you may yet be a valuable shield to your coimtry 's 
defense. I will, with the assistance of Major Hayne, endeavor 
to get along until I can find some one for yoiw place; if I cannot 
find one whose abilities and disposition satisfy me, I shall make 
no appointment." 

The expedition left Nashville January 7, 1813, and proceeded 
to Natchez, and was there ordered by the War Department to 
be disbanded, which General Jackson refused to do, as shown in 

5— vol.2 

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66 Andrew Jackson and Eari<y Tennessee History 

the chapter on the Natchez expedition, and marched his soldiers 
in a body back to Nashville, where he disbanded them. 

On August 2, 1814, Major Reid wrote his mother another 


**It is believed that we shall soon have war with the Creeks. 
The Governor has been directed to have a large force in readiness 
to march at a moment's notice, and General Jackson has issued 
his orders accordingly. He will in case of hostilities be imited 
with a similar force from Georgia and from the Mississippi Terri- 
tory, in the aggregate about seven thousand men, and will be 
able to strike a blow that will not soon be forgotten or recovered 

Under date of September 12, 1814, he writes: 

**The expedition against the Creek Nation so much talked 
of has not yet been ordered out. General Jackson the other day 
got his arm shot to pieces in an aflfray with Colonel Benton. It 
was a desperate affair, half a dozen persons being engaged in it, 
but fortunately no one was killed. I left the General yesterday. 
He appeared in good spirits and thinks he will soon recover. He 
is resolved at all hazards to lead the troops against the Creeks 
if ordered out. I fear his condition is more critical than he sup- 
poses it to be." 

The massacre at Fort Mims occurred on August 30, 1814, 
it was not known in Nashville until September 18, and that in- 
formation, of course, started a frenzied activity to raise an army 
and send to the Creek Nation. Under date of October 4, 1814, 
Major Reid writes his father: 


"The whole State is under arms. Nothing is now seen but 
the movement of troops, nor heard but the beating of drums. 
The infatuated Creeks who have committed so many unpunished 
depredations upon the defensless frontiers have, by an imparral- 
leled atrocity, at length thoroughly aroused the government. 
They recently attacked the Fort in the Mobile River containing 
four or five himdred persons, men, women and children, and put 
them to indiscriminate slaughter, scarcely one escaping. Five 
thousand troops are marching from the State imder General 
Jackson. They will unite somewhere in the Creek Nation with 
three thousand from Georgia. I have been at the General's 
headquarters in Nashville until a few days ago, when I came 
home to complete my preparations to join him on the march. 
I start tomorrow. I go with him in the capacity of an aide." 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 67 

The Major's letters from this date on through the battle of 
New Orleans afford valuable light upon the conduct of the war. 
He wrote various letters to his wife, the first of which was dated 
October 24, 1814, at Camp Deposit. 


**We shall leave the encampment to-day for Ten Islands on the 
Coosa, distant about sixty miles. From thence if we are not 
stopped by the enemy or starvation (I dread the latter much 
more than the former), we shall move with all practicable dis- 
patch to the confluence of the Coosa and the Tallapoosa. The 
hostile Creeks are fully apprised of our coming, and yet show 
no signs of falling back. We expect a battle with them in a few 
days. The General declares that he will not retreat nor survive 
a defeat. Therefore, look soon either for very good or very bad 
news. All I fear is famine. Our expected supplies have not 
arrived and we have only two days* rations. The country cannot 
supjx)rt us. . . . We are cutting oiu* way over mountains 
almost as difficult as the Alps, but difficulties only seem to stimu- 
late the General." 

On November 4, 1814, from Ten Islands, he wrote his wife: 

"At last we have had a battle with the Creeks. A detach- 
ment under the command of General Coffee attacked them at 
Talluschatchie where they were concentrated in force, yesterday 
morning. They made a desperate resistance, but were utterly 
routed. One htmdred and eighty-six were found dead on the 
ground; two hundred were doubtless slain. We lost five killed 
and forty wounded. I rode over the field of battle, the first I 
ever beheld; it is impossible to conceive so horrid a spectacle." 

On November 11, 1814, from Fort Strother, he again wrote 
his wife: 

"We have had a general engagement and obtained a decisive 
victory. It took place on the morning of the 9th. The enemy 
attacked us about daylight with great fury. By nine o'clock all 
was over. Had it not have been for a blunder of the miUtia, in 
retreating, when they were ordered to advance, the Creeks might 
have beai destroyed to a man. Two hundred and ninety of 
them were left dead that we counted, and many others were no 
doubt killed and were not found. As far as we followed their 
retreat, the route was traced with their blood. We lost fifteen 
killed, eighty-four wounded, two of whom have since died. I 
win write your father more particularly when I get an oppor- 
tunity; but it is now within an hour of day, and I have not slept 
a wink in the course of the night, having been kept up writing 
for the General. . . . We have been a week without com 

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68 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

for our horses, and two days without food for ourselves, except 
a little that some of us were prudent enough to reserve." 

The battle of Talladega is the one referred to in this letter. 

On November 21, 1814, Major Reid wrote from Himtsville, 

Alabama, to Major Abram Maury, his father-in-law, at Franklin : 

major reid to major MAURY. 

"I arrived here this morning to see the contractors, and shall 
set out on my retiun before day. The General came with me 
as far as the river; tornorrow we shall leave there together on our 
retiun to Fort Strother. 

"For ten days we have been tarnishing our laiu'els; scarity 
and starvation produced mutiny and rebellion. General Jackson 
never effected anything so great as when he coimteracted it. It 
became necessary, however, to send back the greater part of the 
troops to Camp Deposit, and that he, himself, should hasten 
here to see that effectual measures are taken for future supplies. 
You have no conception of our privations, and of the imgovem- 
able spirit of the men made desperate by want. Every one de- 
spaired but the General, and I believe he experienced, without ex- 
pressing it, for the first time in his life, the humiliating sense of 
despondency. But if the spirit with which a man meets and 
overcomes difficulties is the true test of grea^iess, he is the greatest 
man living. I had intended to have wrtiten you circumstantially 
of the late battle and of all of our affairs, but whatever time I 
apply to my own purposes I must filch. Last night I slept not 
one hour, having to write to the Governor, the Secretary at War, 
the contractors, and about forty others.'* 

It was imder the distressing conditions brought about by 
want of supplies that caused a part of the troops to break away 
from control, and to start to march on their way home, when 
General Jackson placed himslef with a gim in the road, and de- 
clared that he would kill the first man who advanced another step. 
Parton, in the first voliune of his Life of Jackson, tells this incident 
as follows: 

**He Qackson) seized a musket and rode a few paces in advance 
of the troops; his left arm was still in a sling. Leaning his musket 
on his horse's neck, he swore that he would shoot the first 
man that attempted to proceed. Meanwhile, General Coffee 
and Major Reid, suspecting that something extraordinary was 
occiuring, ran up and found their General in this attitude, with 
the column of mutineers standing in sullen silence before him; 
not a man dared stir a foot forward. Placing themselves by his 
side they awaited the result with intense anxiety. Gradually 
a few of the troops who were still faithful were collected behind 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 69 

the General, armed and resolved to use their arms in his support. 
For some minutes the column of mutineers stood firm to their 
purpose, and it only needed one man bold enough to advance to 
bring on a bloody scene. They wavered, however, at length aban- 
doned their piupose and agreed to retimi to their duty. It after- 
wards appeared that the musket which figured so effectually in 
this scene was too much out of order to be discharged.*' 

General Jackson entered upon what he called an "excursion" 
into the Creek county, and it brought on two battles, one at Emuck- 
fau, January 22, 1814, and the other at Enotocopco, January 24, 
1814. Major Reid gives an account of the latter battle in a letter 
to his father: 


"We were marching in regular order in three columns as usual, 
prepared to form to battle on a moment, should we be attacked 
either in front, flanks, or rear. We had reached the creek Enoto- 
copco, and the advance guard had passed over, together with the 
three colimms of men armed, and the wounded. The General 
and myself rode leism-ely down to the water's edge. He remarked 
to me, *Now, if they attack us they can have no advantage.* 
We rode slowly into the creek and had just reached the opposite 
side when fiiring began. The General heard it with the utmost 
composm-e. He tiuned to me with a look as though what he 
wished most was about to happen, and directed me to hmry 
to the wounded who were a short distance in advance, and have 
a line formed to protect them; and to tiun the left column back 
upon the enemy, whilst he proceeded to the right wing for a 
similar purpose. Thus engaged, what was the General's astonish- 
ment to behold the rear guard on the other side of the creek 
precipitately give way, occup)dng all of its passes, and bringing 
consternation with them. It was a dreadful moment, the enemy 
rapidly approaching, following us with their cries and pouring 
forth a destructive fire, and increased the confusion. But upon 
this bank and just across, was a small and select band of young 
men, whom nothing but dishonor should terrify; I mean the 
artillery company known as the General's life-guard. Their piece 
was at the water's edge when the firing commenced. They 
immediately hauled it to a slight eminence and formed about it 
with their muskets. There for a few moments they stood the 
whole brunt of the battle. The General, in the meantime, was 
everywhere, and by his example and words of encouragement, 
finally restored something Hke order. A large force was sent 
across the creek, and such fighting as then ensued has rarely 
been seen. Oiu* men would not take trees or attempt to conceal 
themselves. They ran right on, and wanted only the sight of the 
enemy, then fired upon him, or charged him with the bayonet; in 
less than half an hour the Indians gave way and fled in every 

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70 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

direction. Our loss in the two actions was twenty-four killed 
and seventy-six wounded. The enemy left one hundred eighty- 
nine on the field." 

The battle of Enotocopco was followed by the battle of the 
Horseshoe where the jx)wer of the Creek nation was crushed 
beyond reviving, and Major Reid, at the invitation of General 
Jackson, accompanied the General to Nashville, and in a letter 
to his mother says he had never seen an3rthing so splendid as the 
General's reception at Nashville; that the citizens seemed anxious 
to compensate him by the profusion of one day for all he had done 
and suffered for eight long months; that it gave him great pleasure 
to see the wrinkles in the General's face, so deeply furrowed by 
exposure and af9iction, at length curl into an expression of com- 
placency and self -enjoyment; that everybody was anxious to see 
him at the head of the Northern Army. 

Major Reid's next movement was to become a candidate for 
Congress to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of the Honor- 
able Felix Gnmdy, and he asked General Jackson for permission 
to await the result of the Congressional election, to which the 
General replied granting the permission, and giving some valuable 
history connected with his command at Fort Bowyer. 


**I with pleasure indulge your request. That you may be 
elected is my prayer, although it will be with regret that I part 
with you, for it is thought that we are to have a pretty hot time 
here. We have lately measured oiu* strength with the British 
and gave them a severe mauling. On the 12th inst. (September) 
their vessels hove in sight for Mobile Point where Fort Bowyer 
stands. On the 13th they landed troops on the Point in the rear 
of the Fort; on the 14th soimded the channels, when the land 
force attempted with the artillery to batter down the Fort from 
the rear, but a few shots silenced them. At four p. m. on the 
15th they approached with two ships and two brigs, anchored 
abreast of the fort and opened all of their ^[uns upon it. Ours 
replied and at seven o'clock the foremost ship was silenced, and 
the second so much crippled that, with the two brigs, she drew 
off. All the guns of the fort then played upon the abandoned 
ship. She was set on fire and blown up. It was the Hermes, 24 
to 28, 32 pound carronades. She lost all of her crew but twenty. 
She was commanded by Sir. William H. Percy, son of the Duke 
of Northiunberland. You see how we treat the sons of Lords here. 
TTie other ship was the Charon, which lost eighty-five men. The 
brig Sophia was much shattered, but her loss is not known. The 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 71 

name of the other brig is not recollected by the deserters. Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Nichols commanded the land forces, but was 
taken back and went on board the Charon, where he lost an eye by 
a splinter. We shall have no more proclamations for a while 
from him or the Right Honorable Sir William Henry Percy, son 
of the Duke of Northumberland. Had I only one thousand men 
here now I would put an end to that hotbed of war, Pensacola." 

Major Reid was defeated for Congress. He entered the race 
only upon the strong importunites of friends, and not through 
any voluntary wish of his own to become a member of Congress. 

On August 24, 1814, General Jackson wrote Major Reid from 
Mobile, dating his letter ''eleven o'clock at night." 


"At five o'clock this evening through a confidential channel, 
I received information of the arrival and disembarkation of two 
or three hundred British troops at Pensacola, with large quantities 
of arms and ammunition and ordnance stores; that the Orpheus 
with fourteen sail of the line, large transports and ten thousand 
men were to reach there this day; that large transports with 
twenty-five thousknd of Lord Wellington's troops had arrived at 
Bermuda, and that the Emperor of Russia had offered England 
fifty thousand troops to aid her in Spain and conquer and subdue 
America; and that in one month Mobile and all the Southern 
country was to be in possession of the British. They do not 
think of the munber of bloody noses there will be before this 
happens. But without immediate aid oiu* feeble forces must bend 
before one so overwhelming; I have called into service the full 
quota authorized by the Secretary of War. I hope the Ten- 
nesseans wiU do honor to themselves. I have ordered that every 
Indian in my district be enrolled as a soldier and put under pay; 
this will alone deter them from joining the enemy. I had in- 
tended to forward short patriotic addresses but have not time 
and must request you to have it done in my name; we must act 
with energy and effect or rest assured that our liberties will go 
down as suddenly as the Empire of Napoleon. I am very 
anxious about yom* coming." 

Ma or Reid started November 22d on the joiuney to join 
General Jackson, and learning that the General had gone to New 
Orleans, he turned his course towards that city as fast as he could 
travel, and after reaching there wrote to his wife imder date of 
December 20, 1814: 


"I arrived here yesterday worn completely down by exposixres 
and privations. I will not attempt to describe my experiences 
on the way. It rained incessantly almost from the moment of 

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72 Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 

leaving home, swelling the smallest watercourses into rivers, 
and rendering the roads a perfect quagmire. One of my horses 
was foimded in the Choctaw Nation and I was compelled to 
leave him behind. Another, the black, was one morning found 
dead in the stable. I was then one hundred and fifty miles from 
Natchez without any means of procuring another; I was forced 
to use the pack animal and contrived by slow marches to reach 
Lake Pontchartrain, taking the road, or rather, the path down 
Pearl River, to save distance. 

**On my arrival at the Lake, I heard that the British who 
were near the Rigolets which opens into it, had, after a desperate 
fight, destroyed or taken oiu* gimboats stationed near Cat and 
Ships Islands. No time was to be lost, and leaving everything 
behind except my portmanteau, I jumped into an open boat with 
Captain Morrell of the Navy who was also hastening to Orleans. 
It was near night when we set out and we expected to reach 
port in six horns, but, unfortimately, the compass which we 
coimted upon obtaining from the brig then stationed upon the 
Lake, we failed to procure, and we were compelled to continue 
our trip by the aid of a few stars which faintly glimmered through 
the clouds. The wind now suddenly arose, the sky became 
wholly overcast, and we were left helpless in the dark. After 
tossing about until midnight, we cast anchor and waited for 
morning. Day came and with it an increase in the wind which 
blew With great violence in oiu* faces, and drove us twenty miles 
westward of our destination. In a word, our situation became 
so perilous that even Captain Morrell was alarmed. For two 
whole days and nights we were at the mercy of a terrible gale 
in an open boat, exposed to intense cold and freezing rain, with- 
out a single blanket to cover us, or anything to eat or drink. 
On the third day, the Captain, finding no prospect of a change 
of wind, decided to nm in upon the shore in the hope that when 
we struck we might possibly effect our escape. While attempting 
this, the wind unexpectedly changed; sails were set, and we 
finally reached port, half frozen and nearly starved, but thank- 
ful to Providence for bringing us through such extreme dangers. 
I had rather encounter the risks of a battle than repeat such a 
voyage. Poor Jack! (his servant). There was never so complete 
a picture of horror and despair as his coimtenance furnished. 
I write in a hurry not yet having properly settled in quarters. 
It is the coldest weather almost ever known here. I have no 
fire and my fingers are benumbed. 

**P. S. There never was such a state of enthusiasm as the 
ardour of the General has inspired in this city. It is imder 
martial law and every man capable of bearing arms is in the ranks.*' 

On December 23d, 1814, he wrote again to his wife: 

"As mentioned in the conclusion of my last letter, the city is 
transformed into a camp, martial law having been established by 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 73 

the Generars order. Everybody is under arms. This state of 
things is justified by the urgency of the moment. The capture 
of the gunboats on Lake Borgne was looked upon as a certain 
prelude to an attack upon the city. I am astonished at the re- 
sistance made when I consider the disparity of forces. There 
were one hundred and six of the enemy's boats, lashed two and 
two together, with a platform for their cannon above, attacking 
one little flotilla from every quarter; it was an exciting scene as 
described by gentlemen of respectability who were in tree tops 
on the shore. They reported our ships, and particularly that in 
which Captain Jones was, as frequently for several minutes in- 
volved in a blaze of fire. 

**Notwithstanding the proximity of the enemy and the ex- 
ertions made to obtain correct information, we remain wonder- 
fully ignorant of his strength, movements, and probable intentions. 
An hundred rumors are afloat. At one time, the approach is by 
the Lake, at another, by the River, and again by land. The 
General seeks to be prepared for it at every point. Lord Hill is 
said to be on command of the enemy's forces. 

**The notorious Lafitte came in yesterday. He talks with 
great apparent frankness and, I believe, with truth of the enemy's 
projects. He tells the General to keep an eye fixed on the lower 

"The ardoiu- with which all orders of men here are now 
animated, offers a striking contrast with the apathy which pre- 
vailed before the General's arrival, a^d is a splendid illustration 
of what one man is capable of effecting. The spirit which he 
has been enabled to impart is looked upon by all as a certain 
pledge of that resistance which will be made when the city is 

On the 30th of December, 1814, he wrote again: 

"I am glad that I am alive. On the 23d, a little while after 
I closed my last letter, news arrived that the enemy in consider- 
able force had landed from the Lakes seven miles below the city. 
The moment the General heard of it he began to make preparations 
for attacking him in his first postion. About five o'clock p. m. 
he got off with about fifteen hundred troops, reaching the vicinity 
of the enemy at seven o'clock p. m. He immediately made his 
dispositions for battle. Commodore Patterson, who had fallen 
down the river in the Schooner Caroline, afforded such co- 
operation as the situation might admit, opened fire on their 
camp. At the same time General Coffee attacked them on their 
right, while General Jackson who had advanced up the levee, 
assailed them in their strongest position near the river. The 
contest was maintained for nearly two hours and with the ut- 
most ftuy on both sides. It was difficult to see anything but the 
flashing of the gims, while the din was dreadful. At length a 
deep fog arose, made denser by the smoke from the field, and it 

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74 Andmw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssto History 

became nearly impossible to distinguish friend from foe. The 
General thought it prudent to withdraw the troops. We lay for 
the night near the battle ground, and the next morning fell back 
to a strong position two miles nearer the city, and proceeded 
immediately to entrench. We have been in full sight of each 
other ever since. An attack was made day before yesterday to 
drive us from oiu* position, which is an old ditch runniilg for 
nearly a mile between the river and a cypress swamp, bdiind 
which we have thrown up an earthen embankment; but it signally 
failed. They are now making preparations for another attack. 
They can easily be seen erecting platforms for their heavy gtms. 
We are imder arms day and night while skirmishing goes on 

Major Reid's description as an eye-witness of the battle of 
January 8, 1815, will prove interesting, and a letter in which 
he gives the description is dated **Camp, foiu* miles below New 
Orleans, January 9," and is addressed to his wife: 


"I snatch a few moments from the little time which is 
allowed me for sleep to inform you that the long looked for at- 
tack by the enemy has at length been made, and repelled in a 
manner glorious to the American name. At reveille yesterday, I 
say yesterday because it is now past midnight, the enemy having 
completed his preparations, advanced upon us in two heavy 
columns on oiu* right and left, imder cover of bombs and Con- 
greve rockets, to carry our works by storm. In a moment oiu" 
men were at their posts, and displayed there all the firmness 
and deliberation to have been expected from veterans intu'ed to 
war. For an hoiu* the most tremendous fire of small arms was 
kept up, I am siu-e, that was ever witnessed on the American 
continent; twice the enemy were repulsed from oiu- first entrench- 
ments, and twice returned to the assault. At length, cut to 
pieces, they were forced to retire from the field, leaving it covered 
with the dead and the dying. Their loss cannot be estimated 
at less than 1,200 or 1,500, including prisoners, of whom we have 
about 300. Ours was inconsiderable, being less than ten killed 
and about the same number wounded. 

"But while I mention the glorious result I must also inform 
you of an unfortunate occurrence which at the same time took 
place on the other side of the river, and has, I fear, defeated all 
the effects of our success on this side, and injured the safety of 
New Orleans. The enemy had, with infinite labor, succeeded on 
the night of the 7th in canying their boats across the land 
from tJie Lake to the river. The General, to prdvide against 
the consequences of such a movement, established several batteries 
on the other side of the river, and stationed General Morgan 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 75 

there with the Louisiana militia to which he afterwards added 
four hundred Kentuckians. The enemy simultaneously with their 
advance upon oiu- lines, threw over in then* boats a considerable 
force to the other side of the river. They immediately advanced 
upon the works there, and in the very moment in which they might 
have been repulsed, and the whole expedition defeated, the Ken- 
tuckians ingloriously fled, drawing after them the other forces, 
and leaving that fortimate position in the hands of the enemy. 
As soon as day dawns, I expect them to open their batteries upon 
us from that side of the river, against which we have no protection, 
and drive us from oiu- present lines, or slaughter us within them. 
The cowardice of a single corps may thus have defeated the 
wisest plans and the highest display of valor in all the rest. At 
no moment was oiu- situation ever so critical. God can only 
foresee the result. ... I believe that Lieutenant-General 
Pakenham, who was the commander in chief, is killed, though 
if it is so, it is endeavored to be kept a secret. There are strong 
reasons for believing it true." 

On January 20, 1815, he again wrote to his wife. 

**I have good news to tell you. The enemy after six and 
twenty days of fighting have at length grown weary and retired 
to their boats. They decamped very quietly night before last, 
leaving eighty of their woimded, including two officers, in their 
field hospitals, foiuteen pieces of cannon, and a large quantity 
of ammunition. Whether they intend to make a dash at some 
other point or abandon the expedition altogether we do not 

The battle of New Orleans was finished for all time, the city 
was saved, the enemy was gone, and Major Reid could start for 
home, which he did, and from Natchez, Mississippi, on April 
20, 1815, he wrote to his mother: 


"We are thus far on our way home. We left New Orleans 
on the 6th amid the lamentations and benedictions of men, 
women and children. It is impossible for you to imagine the 
gratitude and kindness which all classes and ages show to the 
General. He is everywhere held as the savoir of the country. 
All the way up the coast he has been feted and caressed. He 
is regarded as a prodigy and the women and children and old 
men line the road and gaze at him as they would at an elephant, 
or some other strange animal. This sort of attention makes him 
feel very awkwardly. He pulls oflF his hat and bows graciously, 
but as though his spirit was humbled and abashed. He arrived 
this morning and is now at chiu-ch, whither I have been pre- 
vented accompanying him by a great deal of business which must 

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76 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

be transacted before we leave this place. Of all persons living 
who are not professed Christians, he certainly feels most like 
one, if I may judge from the manner in which he often expresses 
himself to me in his retired and private moments. Nothing 
seems to shock his feelings more, nothing will he bear with less 
patience, than the least word uttered in disrespect of the Christian 

**We shall probably reach home by the tenth of next month, 
and perhaps in a short time afterwards, set out for Washington 
City. If we do, we will pass through Virginia and make you a 
visit. I am satisfied you will be pleased with the plain and frank 
manner of this really great man, but you probably like him most 
on account of his kindness to me. Hasty in his temper, he cer- 
tainly has the best and most glorious heart in the world. 

**Tonight the town will be illuminated, and tomorrow there is 
is a dinner, and in the evening a ball to be given Mr. Jackson. 
This we may expect in almost every little town' through which he 
passes. They are ceremonies he would gladly dispense with, if it 
could be done without seeming to slight the kind intentions and 
grateful feelings of the citizens.'* 

After reaching home General Jackson and his party were 
unable to start on the trip to Washington until the first week 
in October, and reached the residence of Major Reid*s father 
near Lynchbiu-g, Virginia, November 8th. Mrs. Jackson and 
Mrs. Reid and the children were in the party, and remained at 
Major Reid-s father's, while the General and the Major went to 
Washington, where they arrived on the 17th. 

REID's life op JACKSON. 

As early as this date in the career of General Jackson, the 
writing of his life was under consideration by him and his friends, 
and it finally came about that Jackson authorized Major Reid 
to undertake the preparation of his biography, and the Major 
entered upon the task. Encouragement for the undertaking was 
received from every quarter, as was to have been expected. 
General Jackson was now a national hero, and it was in the order 
of things that the American people should want to know every- 
thing there was to learn about the man who had repelled the 
English at New Orleans. The proposed Life by Major Reid was 
to be an octavo volume of four hundred pages, illustrated, and 
sold at five dollars a copy. Before any part of the book was 
written, thirty thousand dollars was offered for the copyright, 
and General Jackson gave the enterprise his endorsement in these 
words : 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 77 

jackson's endorsement. 

"Major Reid having made known to me his intention of 
publishing a history of the late campaign in the South, I think 
it very proper that the public should be m^de acquainted with 
the opportunities he has had of acquiring full and correct infor- 
mation on the subject which he pmposes to write. He ac- 
companied me as Aide-de-Camp during the Creek War and con- 
tinued with me in that capacity after my appointment in the 
United States Army. He had and now has charge of my public 
papers and has ever possessed my xmUmited confidence. The 
opportimities he has enjoyed, improved by the talents he pos- 
sesses, will, I doubt not, enable him to satisfy the expectations 
of his friends.*' 

In the matter of having a history of his life written in his 
life time. General Jackson was to go down to his grave, after 
repeated efforts, a disappointed man. Reid was the first to 
enter upon the undertaking with his consent. Years later Amos 
Kendall, who had been Postmaster General in his administration 
as President, was given possession of his official papers, docu- 
ments and personal letters, with which to write the life, and Ken- 
dall failed, and these papers were then turned over to General 
Frank P. Blair, who also failed, although both were warm personal 
friends and political supporters of General Jackson in the days of 
his power; and after General Blair's death his sons obtained 
possession of the papers, and, without right or authority to do 
so, gave them to the Congressional Library of the United States. 

The visit of General Jackson and Major Reid to Washington 
was an exceedingly pleasant one, and they were both treated, of 
course, with the most distinguished consideration. They returned 
to Virginia on December 15, 1815, to the home of Major Reid's 
father, and after staying there a few days the General and his 
family started homeward, and reached the Hermitage in early 
February, 1816. Major Reid remained behind to start his work, 
and had completed the first four chapters when he suddenly 
sickened and died on January 18, 1816, in his thirty-second year. 
General Jackson wrote him twice on his way to the Hermitage, 
and in the first of his letters, dated January 2d, he used this 
language: ** Although with my family, I have to-day felt lost. 
I have felt that my bosom friend is absent from me.'* In the 
second letter, dated January 15, 1816, he used this language: 
"You will please recollect that I left the mare, Fanny, for your 
use and your property. I intend, if an opportunity offers to 

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78 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

send you two draft horses as soon as I reach home. ... 1 
need not say to you that my anxiety for the success of yoiu* book 
is great. There are many weighty reasons that create this anxiety. 
. . . Should you find any diflficulty in getting it printed on 
your own accoimt, write me, and I will procitfe the means." 

Major Reid*s Life of Jackson, left uncompleted, was finished 
by John H. Eaton, one time United States Senator from Ten- 
nessee, Secretary of War, and Minister to Spain. The first 
edition appeared in 1818. The modem reader and historian 
does not accredit the book with either great authority or strength 
by reason of its lack of detail and except for its piuporting to be 
a Life of Jackson, written in part by his aide and mihtary secre- 
tary and finished by a member of his cabinet, the book is too 
general to be accepted as a real biography. 

Major Reid's father wrote General Jackson of the Major's 
death, and in a letter written from the Hermitage and dated 
February 8, 1816, Jackson made this reply: 


*'Your letter of the 24th ultimo containing the unwelcome 
information of the sudden and unexpected death of my dear and 
much esteemed friend, Major John Reid, reached me yesterday. 
I came home on the first day of this month; on the second, re- 
ceived a number of letters that had reached I^hville. The 
first I opened was from Major Reid, of date the 10th January, 
among other things advising me of his and his family's good 
health. The next I opened was one from the postmaster at New 
London of date the 21st of January, stating that on the day pre- 
ceding he had accompanied the remains of my friend to his grave. 
The shock that this produced is more easily judged of than ex- 
plained, having just before finished the reading of his letter of 
the 10th. It is wrong to mminiu- at the decrees of Heaven. 
The Lord's will be done. But such the frailty of human nattu^ 
that it will repine at the imtimely loss of dear and valuable friends, 
and it is difficult to prevent exclaiming, Why were they not spared 
a Httle longer? I can well figure to myself the distress of his 
wife, parents and brethren. He was their darling. They, like 
myself, knew his value as a husband, as a son, as a brother, and 
as a man. We mourn for the dead, but must endeavor to com- 
fort and cheer the living. 

**0n receipt of the melancholy intelligence I lost not a mo- 
ment in writing to Major A. Mamy, his father-in-law. I have 
no doubt, if his health will permit, Uiat he will immediately go 
to his daughter. The interest of his dear little family must be 
attended to, and the book must be finished for their benefit. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 79 

If none of his friends or acquaintances in Virginia will under- 
take to complete the work, I will get some persons whose talents 
and integrity can be relied on. 

"It is all-important to me that all papers of a public nature 
and all others pertaining to my offices, be carefully preserved. 
Whoever finishes the work must have free access to the originals, 
or copies must be made out and furnished them. The original 
papers must be sent to me, well bound up, the expense of which 
I will pay. In the event of none of his friends or acquaintances 
in Virginia tmdertaking to complete the work, please send on all 
the papers, books and manuscript contained in the tnmk, and 
Major Maury and myself will endeavor to have the book finished 
by some competent person, and will see that the proceeds are 
applied to the benefit of his family. 

**I will depend upon yoiu* care of the papers until a safe op- 
portunity oflfei^s for their conveyance to me. If Mrs. Reid retmns 
to this coimtry, let the tnmk with the papers be sent on with her. 
The filly I left was a present from me to Major Reid as a small 
token of my esteem. If Major Maury goes on, horses, etc., will 
be forwarded. Please write me at once and give me information 
whether any of Major Reid's friends will imdertake finishing the 
book. • Yoimg Mr. Steptoe, I am told, is a young man of good 
education, and competent to the task. Give me a statement 
of the progress of the work. Any labor or information in my 
power shall be freely bestowed to have the work, completed. 

"Make a tender of Mrs. Jackson's and my best wishes to 
your father, mother, and family, and Mrs. J. Reid, and the dear 
little children. Say to them we sincerely regret and feel the 
loss they have sustained in Major Reid. Our exertions will not 
be wanting to render his family any service in our power. Accept 
asstuxmce of our friendship and esteem. 

"Andrew Jackson. 

"Mr. Nathan Reid, Jr." 

Mrs. Jackson also sent a very kind letter to Mrs. Sophia Reid, 
whose name she spelled "Reade." The author has corrected the 
spelling, capitalization and punctuation, but in all other respects 
the letter is reproduced just as Mrs. Jackson wrote it. 


"Tennessee State, April 27, 1816. 

"My Dear Madam: — ^I received your friendly and affectionate 
letter of March 25. I never wished for anything more sincerely 
than to hear from you at the time your letter came to hand. You 
will scarcely believe when I declare to you that I was as much 
distressed the day I left your house as if you had all been my 
nearest relations. Oh my! will you pardon me for not writing 

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80 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

you? I fully intended it the next day, and nothing prevented it 
but my writing so bad a hand. Mrs. E. Reid did not call on me 
as she passed above some distance, say twenty miles. How 
sincerely I have sympathized in your sorrows. It has not been in 
the power of an absent friend to soothe or relieve one sorrowful 
hour, or rest assured it would have been done. There is none 
exempt from trouble and the Great Dispenser of all who holds 
the destiny of nations in His hands, sees and knows what is best 
for us. Let us, my friend, resign to His will. Your son was an 
honoi;to his friends and coimtry, a bright gem plucked from among 
them, but alas, he is gone the ways of all earth. I cannot de- 
scribe my feehngs on the day I left your house. Dear Maria! 
Often did I see her in my imagination, so strongly was it impressed 
on my mind to say something to her in that most solemn hour, 
but she was in the hands of her God, who is altogether mercy 
and goodness. I have written to Mrs. Reid at her father's but 
have received no answer as yet. General Jackson has been from 
home since sometime in February, through the Mobile, and all 
that section of the 7th District. He was three weeks in New 
Orleans. I frequently have letters he will return to Tennessee 
in May — ^he says to me his health is something better than usual. 
Alas, my dear madam, have you heard of this dreadful epidemic 
that has swept away nearly one-third of our citizens ? So many 
instances of men and their wives going together, six and seven 
out of some families. Nothing would give me more pleasure on 
earth than to see you all once more except to see Mr, Jackson. 
Remember me to Mrs. Harris and all of her family. Captain 
Reid and your family, and accept for yourself my prayers that 
happiness may visit your abode once more, a gleam of joy sent 
on your evening hours is my wish. 

"Rachel Jackson. 
"To Mrs. Sophia Reid." 

That Major John Reid has never received the historical recog- 
nition due him in connection with the career of Andrew Jackson, 
is the conclusion that every student of Jackson's hfe must in- 
evitably reach; and this is the conclusion, also, of at least some of 
his direct descendants. In a letter to the author of December 13, 
1917, Mrs. Nina Reid Hunter, of Nashville, a great-grand-daugh- 
ter of Major Reid, with a pride fully justified by the life, char- 
acter and career of her great-grandfather, says of him: 

"That he was a remarkable man everything that I know of 
him indicates. Major Langhome says: 'It was but recently the 
writer heard General 0.0. Clay refer to having met at Mr. Step- 
toe's three of the most remarkable men he had ever seen: Mr. 
Jefferson, General Jackson, and his aide, Major Reid.' So it is 
a great happiness to me to send you what I have poftaining to 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 81 

him; it is very little, but I would it had been more. If my father 
had never lent Colonel Terrell his papers, I feel confident that 
he would now have some adequate place in General Jackson's 

That the publication in permanent form of Major Reid's 
papers, lent to W. G. Terrell by Judge Frank T. Reid, father 
of Mrs. Hunter, would have given Major Reid "an adequate 
place" in General Jackson's history, as Mrs. Hunter suggests, 
does not admit of controversy; and nothing is more conclusive 
of this than the permanent place in Jackson's history held by 
Major W. B. Lewis, through his good fortune in having his letters 
and writings to and about Jackson, published by Parton in his 
Life of Jackson. Major Lewis will live in history as long as 
Jackson lives — their lives, for historians, are inseparable — and 
Major Lewis' descendants owe eternal thanks to James Parton, 
who in the preparation of his book, came to Nashville where 
Major Lewis lived, in search of original documents, letters, news- 
papers, and first-hand information of every kind. Parton was a 
newspaper man, with a keen and accurate appreciation of his- 
torical values, and possessed wonderful skill in making men and 
women live, move, breathe and talk on the pages of his history. 
He lost no time in getting in touch with Major Lewis and pro- 
curing from him in written form, and thoroughly considered, 
after exhaustive investigation of the endless stores of historical 
data in his possession and his personal memory of scenes he had 
lived through, far-reaching national events he had helped to 
plan and bring to pass, great men he had met and intimately 
knew, statements that Parton wanted and incorporated in his 
life of Jackson. Major Lewis gave to history that which no 
other man in America could have given, and he knew that in 
writing for Parton, he was writing for posterity. The great, 
scrupulous and accurate care he took in depicting the time and 
events that he had Uved through, shows that he appreciated 
what he was doing, both for Andrew Jackson's ultimate historical 
standing, as well as his own. 

Major Lewis did not move across the pages of Jackson's 
history with any great consequence until after Jackson became 
President of the United States. As stated in another part of 
this book, Lewis did all that any other one man did, and possibly 
more, to make Jackson President, but his great influence was 
exerted afterwards, and his fortune has been that as Jackson's 


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82 Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 

confidential friend, letter-writer and officer, he wrote letters and 
received letters that posterity delights to read, and he was careful 
to preserve them; so that when Mr. Parton asked his help, he 
was amply prepared to give help that was invaluable for Parton's 

Major Reid on the other hand, was in contact with Jackson 
and took part in his life and career only during the Indian wars, 
the battle of New Orleans and a short time afterwards. He died 
young, when it is clear that he had not developed to their limit, 
intellectual and moral powers that were in him. Everything that 
he wrote indicates great strength and great reserve forces. Jack- 
son never had an abler Secretary. He did not have as wide a 
field in which to exercise his ability as Major Lewis, but Reid 
made no mistakes, and the author's purpose in publishing in this 
chapter his letters, is to give the people of Tennessee an oppor- 
tunity to estimate the man, and thereby give him "some adequate 
place in Jackson's history," that his granddaughter, Mrs. Hunter, 
correctly thinks he is entitled to. 

The letters here published are only a part of Major Reid's 
papers tmned over to W. G. Terrell by Judge Frank T. Reid, 
but they are enough to indicate what the people of Tennessee 
have heretofore been ignorant of — the calibre and capacity of 
Major John Reid. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 83 


John Haywood and J. G. M. Ramsey, Historians of 

Tennessee — Haywood's History and Career — 

Ramsey's Annals and Autobiography. 

No State in the Union owes more to its early historians than 
Tennessee is indebted to Judge John Haywood and Dr. J. G. M. 
Ramsey. The works of both are out of print and owned by few 
persons or libraries in Tennessee or elsewhere. Judge Haywood 
bears the distinction of being the father of Tennessee history 
and Dr. Ramsey follows close in his footsteps. 

Judge Haywoood wrote of events he learned about from the 
lips of men who helped to accomplish them; he had a keen appre- 
ciation of what manner of men it took to lay the foundations of 
a great State in a wilderness. 

Dr. Ramsey's father was one of the principal architects of 
Tennessee and his family and connections did imcoimted service 
in many of the activities of the early days. 

Hence a work telling of early Tennessee should concede both 
a place of honor in its recitals of the daring, suffering and 
triumphs of the men who first planted the white man's flag in 
the then wilderness of Tennessee. 

The gratitude of Tennessee to Judge Haywood and Dr. Ram- 
sey ought to be manifested by grand monuments of enduring 
marble, gratefully inscribed and erected by the Legislature of 
the State upon Capitol Hill in Nashville, for the edification and 
pleastu'e of those who will live long after the builders are dead. 


Judge John Haywood, author of *'The Civil and Political 
History of the State of Tennessee from its Earliest Settlement 
to the Year 1796", first pubHshed in 1823, was born in Halifax 
County, North Carolina, in 1753 and was the son of Egbert 
Haywood, a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He studied 
law and from 1791 to 1794 was Attorney General in North Car- 

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84 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

olina, and then became a judge of the Superior Coitft of North 
Carolina, where he served ten or twelve years. In 1801 he pub- 
lished a ''Manual of the Laws of North Carolina**, and followed 
this with **Haywood*s Justice*' and "North Carolina Reports*', 
which cover the decisions of the Supreme Court of North Caro- 
lina from 1789 to 1806. 

In 1802 or 1803, he came to Tenessee and settled on a farm, 
which he named "Tusculum," situated on the Nolensville Pike, 
a few miles from Nashville, where he spent the remainder of his 
life and where he died and was bimed. 

In 1812 he became a judge of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, 
and remained a member of that court until his death in 1826. 
His associates on the Supreme Bench were John Overton, Hugh 
Lawson White, Robert Whyte, Archibald Roane, Thomas Emer- 
son, Jacob Peck, William L. Brown, Samuel Powell, Harry W. 
Humphrey, John Catron and George W. Campbell. 

While on the Supreme Bench he compiled three volumes 
known as "Haywood's Tennessee Reports", and in conjuction 
with R. L. Cobb, compiled the "Statute Laws of Tennessee". 
He also wrote "Natiu-al and Aboriginal History of Tennessee" 
and "The Christian Advocate". The work by which he will al- 
ways be remembered, and without which a large part of the pio- 
neer history of Tennessee would be irretrievably lost, is his "Civil 
and Political History of Tennessee". Oiu- debt to him for this 
work can never be paid, or even estimated. His capacity for 
investigating obsciu-e subjects and places and lighting up the 
lives of Tennessee pioneers prior to the adoption of the State con- 
stitution in 1796, places him in the class of those historical writers 
who have illustrated the early ages of various countries. 

Col. A. S. Colyar of Nashville, in 1890, wrote a sketch of Judge 
Haywood for the edition of liis "Civil and Political History" pub- 
lished in 1891, and we quote a very life-like description of him 
given to Col. Colyar by Honorable N. Baxter, Sr., who saw the 
Judge for the first time on the bench. In this description Mr. 
Baxter makes a very interesting comparison between Judge Hay- 
wood and Felix Gnmdy as advocates. 

JUDGE n. Baxter's description. 

"He was the first judge I ever saw and held the first coiul 
I ever saw in session. This was at Charlotte, Dickson Coimty, 
about 1822 or 1823. I was much impressed with his personal 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 85 

appearance, and the picture photographed on my memory, as 
I now see it through the vista of more than sixty years as he sat 
on an ordinary split-bottom chair, is that he was a very large man 
and very corpulent. His arms, his legs and his neck were aU thick 
and short, his abdomen came down on his lap and nearly covered 
it to his knees. His head, which rested nearly on his shoulders, 
was tmusually large and peculiarly formed. His imder jaw and- 
lower face looked large and strong, and his head above his ears 
ran up high and somewhat conical, and viewed horizontally it 
was rather square than roimd. His mouth was large, expressive 
and rather handsome. You say of him 'that as an advocate true 
history will place him as the only peer of Felix Gnmdy.' From 
all I know of Judge Haywood as a practitioner of the law, gathered 
from every soiu-ce, from tradition and inferred from his judicial 
opinions, I had not supposed that the analogy between the two 
was very striking. Haywood was, doubtless, a very success- 
ful practitioner, but won his success with the court by his 
astute and superior knowledge of the law and with the jmy by 
his ability to estimate the vaJue of his facts and present them in 
such array as made his argument intelligible and unanswerable, 
and thus enforced the accord of the jmy nolens volens. His 
argiunents were addressed rather to the intelHgence and judgment 
of the jmy than to their passions or to any mere sentiment or 
prejudice. On the other hand, Judge Grundy, while no such 
astute and profound lawyer as Haywood was, and could not 
argue dry facts to that logical conclusion that Haywood could, 
yet he greatly stu-passed Haywood in his knowledge of men. He 
may not have known as well as Haywood what he was talking 
about, but he knew infinitely better who he was talking to. And 
though his arguments were not logically conclusive, they wereover- 
poweringly persuasive and winning. Haywood forced courts and 
juries to decide cases for him because they did not see any way 
out of it. Gnmdy let them decide cases for him because they 
wanted to and regarded the privilege as a boon. Gnmdy knew 
every man on the jiuy, not by name, perhaps, but he knew the 
man and the stuff he was made of; he could penetrate to his heart 
and to his brain; he knew what would move him and how to apply 
it, and when he was done with him the juror was ready to decide 
for him, facts or no facts, law or no law. The one practiced from 
the books and the testimony j the other practiced upon the men who 
were to decide the case". 

Judge Haywood's volume and variety of knowledge was prob- 
ably as great as that of any man in America at that time, and in 
addition to his knowledge he wrote a dignified, graceful and mod- 
est preface to his history of Tennessee which it is a pleasiu-e to 
read, and which entitles him to be classed with those having fine 
literary style and attainments. 

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86 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 



**In almost every State of the Union some grateful country- 
man has celebrated in the historic page the worthies it has pro- 
duced and the illustrious deeds it has performed imder their con- 
• duct. This has been done for the benefit of posterity, that they 
may have domestic examples to imitate; to gratify the honest 
pride of the people in the fame of their country; to keep them in 
mind of the obligations they are imder to maintain its glory un- 
diminished, and to supply them with standards of patriotism 
which they may endeavor to exceed if they can, and which they 
must not fall below. But no one has yet attempted to record 
the memorable achievements of the eminent men of Tennessee. 
According to the sphere in which they have acted and the means 
placed within their reach, they have deserved from their country 
their lasting remembrance, their highest gratitude, and their 
most ardent affection. Already the time has come when to many 
of our inhabitants their names are but just known, while in the 
memories of others their actions are fading away. Ought not 
their names and their exploits to be rescued from the obliteration 
of time and the tomb of silence? Shall their illustrious deeds 
be erased from the recollections of succeeding generations, or be 
preserved only in the indistinct memorials of oral tradition? And 
shall posterity be left unacquainted with the examples which 
they have given to stimulate hereafter to glorious enterprises? 
If their splendid achievements cannot be transmitted to after 
ages in the rich dress they deserve, still it is better to perpetuate 
them in the most simple form than to let them wholly be forgotten. 
Such are the motives which have impelled the author to undertake 
this work. Without the affectation of modesty, but in true sin- 
cerity, he knows himself unequal to the task, but his hope and 
expectation is that of the materials which he has now collected 
and recorded some futiu-e historian may avail himself, and be 
enabled to represent the historical occiurences of the periods em- 
braced in this volume in a style of elegance suited to the high 
merit of the actors. Let no one censure his motive, for they are 
pure. There will indeed be much room to blame the defective 
performance of the author, but this he will hear with the greatest 
pleasure if the person dissatisfied will, for the benefit of his coimtry, 
either produce a more perfect work or contribute to the amend- 
ment of this. 

"The Author." 
dr. j. g. m. ramsey. 

This generation, both in Tennessee and in a number of states 
where Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey's life and works are known, will hail 
with delight the, parts here reproduced of an autobiography 
written by Dr. Ramsey while residing for several years in North 

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•The Amwit off TomwsMe." Photographed from an oil pointing In th< 
MA, HMiry Ramooy Lenoir and Mre. Lenoir, off Knoxvllle, Tenneeeoe. 

the pooeeooion of Dr. Ram- 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 87 

Carolina because of the Civil War. This autobiography is in 
leng^ about three himdred typewritten pages of three hundred 
words to the page, and covers, in addition to the parts here given^ 
a very full account of Dr. Ramsey's connection with the manage- 
ment of State Banks in Tennessee, his activities extending over 
many years in the promotion of pioneer railroads, and their man- 
agement by him as the State Director appointed by the Governor 
of Tennessee, the experiences of himself and his family during the 
Civil War and the careers of five of his sons who were in the Con- 
federate Army. It is all profoimdly interesting, but the reader 
cannot help wishing that there were full details of the writing of 
the Annals of Tennessee, and of its distribution among the reading 
public, and its reception by competent critics of that day. On 
these points there is practically nothing. 

This autobiography has never in any of its parts been pub- 
lished before, and the publication of any of it now is like a voice 
from the other world. In considering the many and important 
matters in which Dr. Ramsey took a controlling part in our early 
history, one concludes that he was of large calibre in many and 
varied directions. 

The reading world of today knows him only as the author of 
the Annals, and will be surprised to learn that he could do so many 
things of large proportions and with such surprising success. 

The author makes his grateful acknowledgments to Miss 
Edith Scott of Morristown, Tennessee, a great-niece of Dr. Ram- 
sey, for the complete autobiography from which the parts here 
reproduced are taken, and he feels sm-e that Miss Scott has con- 
ferred a great favor upon the students and reading public of today 
by giving them the opportimity of learning what Dr. Ramsey said 
of himself, his family and his life. 



The parts of the autobiography set out are not consecutive. 

"Autobiographical, Genealogical and Historical Remarks on 
his Own Family, by J. G. M. Ramsey, M. D. N., of Mecklenbm-g, 
Tenn., written at Exile Retreat, N. C, Dec. 8, 1868. 

"In these remarks will be foimd incidents of the exile of his 
wife, M. B. Ramsey and daughters, M. E. A. R. Breck and Miss 
Sue A. Ramsey, and of the services of himself and his five sons 
in the Confederate cause; with an occasional notice of other 
members and coimections of his family. 

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88 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

*'My paternal grandfather was Reynolds Ramsey. It is be- 
lieved that his parents were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, and that 
his father on coming to America settled in New Castle, Delaware. 
It is a tradition but fully beUeved by their son, Reynolds, that, 
on their passage across the Atlantic the mother fell over-board 
and was drowned. Her body could be seen floating on the sea 
some time after the accident, being buoyed above the waves by 
the stuffed or quilted dresses whidi ladies wore at that early 
period in the high latitude from which they came. 

"Their son Reynolds was a good EngUsh scholar and had been 
well raised and piously trained. He was tall and graceful. I 
can even now recollect his polite bearing when yet an old man 
and especially to the ladies. He never entered a room with his hat 
on and never retired from it without a graceful bow and a modest 
and sincere adieu. The date of his birth is not here and not known, 
but it can be foimd in the old family Bible where I have seen it at 
Robert Swan's, Esq., near Cleveland, Tenn. Mrs. Swan was his 
grand-daughter and thus came into possession of the family record. 

''Reynolds Ramsey married Naomi Alexander on the day 

of 17 — . These and other similar blanks can be filled by examin- 
ing Mrs. Swan's Bible. Her father was a member of influence 

and position in Church Pa. or New Jersey and 

his name appears often in the early ecclesiastical records of 
the Presbytery of to which he belonged. 

'*His daughter Naomi was a rigid Calvanist and had been 
well indoctrinated in the creed of the Presbyterian Church. After 
her marriage she with her husband removed to and settled upon 
Marsh Creek, then in York Co. Pa., now Adams Co., six or eight 
miles westward from the present Gettysburg. Thrift followed 
the industrious and frugal habits of this young couple. He rented 
a merchant mill upon Marsh Creek and his neighborhood was 
soon settled with pious and intelligent immigrants. A small 
village, Millers Town, soon sprang up in which soon after was 

organized a Presbyterian Church. Of this Rev. 

afterward (1806) was the Pastor. The congregation was dis- 
tinguished rather for its piety and intelligence than for wealth and 
refmement. Good schools and the loving ministry were always 
well sustained and encouraged. A respect for the laws and order 
of good society, for parental authority and for filial obedience and 
a strict regard to the teaching of the Bible and of the Protestant 
religion, everywhere prevailed. 

"In such a community was the rising family of Reynolds and 
Naomi Ramsey trained. They had three or four sons and one 
daughter. Of these Francis Alexander Ramsey was probably 
the oldest and was bom May 31, 1764. He was the father of 
the writer. Early in life he manifested great mental activity and 
excelled especially in mathematical studies. His chirography 
was elegant, he could draw well and was especially skilled in trigo- 
nometry and surveying. To these attainments were super-added 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 89 

a gentle and amiable disposition, frank and urbane manners, pure 
words and an ambition well regulated and lofty, to make a mark 
for himself upon his age and posterity. No theatre presented 
itself for the exhibition of his capacities in the neighborhood where 
his youth and early manhood had been §pent, and he remained 
therefore, with his parents only till his nineteenth year. Of two 
brothers of his, John and William, nothing fiuther is known, than 
that they died early, one of them of consumption in Charleston, 
S. C, in the house and kind family of Dr. David Ramsey of that 
city, and whose professional aid he had sought imder what proved 
to be an incurable disease. 

"Another brother, believed to be the yoimgest son of his parents, 
Samuel Ramsey, received his academic education in his father's 
neighborhood and finished his collegiate studies at Liberty Hall, 
afterwards Washington College, in Lexington, Va., imder the 
Presidency of Rev. WilHam Graham. He studied divinity imder 
the same learned divine. After his licensure he missionated in 
Va. a short time. Such was his admiration of his great teacher, 
that he assumed the name of Graham as part of his own and in 
all after-life was known as J. G. Ramsey. He married the widow 
of Rev. Carey Allen, Mrs. Elizabeth Christian, daughter of Dr. 
William Flemming, who was surgeon and for a part of the day 
Col. Com. imder Gen. Lewis at Sie Great Indian Battle of the 
Kenhawa 1775-1784, I think. He afterwards about 1793 removed 
to Knox Co., now Tenn. and became the founder and pastor of 
several new churches in the new county and an approved teacher 
in Ebenezer Academy, which he established on his own farm. He 
bad hemorrhage of the lungs which terminated in dropsy June or 
July, 1817. An extended Memoir of his ministerial labors and 
his educational enterprises was pubUshed in 1867-8 in the Richmond 
Christian Observer, written by this writer under the signature 
»f Mnemonika, to which the reader is respectfully referred. 

"The remaining number of the children of Reynolds and Na- 
omi Ramsey was their only daughter, AmeUa Naomi. She mar- 
ried James King, who died after the birth of Amelia King and 
James King. During her widowhood she resided with her parents 
while they remained in Pa. 

**My maternal grandfather was John McKjiitt Alexander. 
His father's name I do not know, but I believe it was James. I 
think he lived in Hopewell Church in either New Jersey or Pa., 
and was a man of position and influence, both in Church and State. 
His wife's maiden name was McKnitt. They had a large family 
of sons and daughters, of the former, the names were Hezekiah, 

John McKnitt, , , , 

and the youngest Ezekiel. 

**The daughters were Jemima who married James Sharp, 
who was a Major in the Rev. War, and Elizabeth, who married 

Sample. My grandfather, John McKnitt Alexander, 

married Jane Baine, in Pa., and he, his brothers and sister, were 

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90 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

among the first emigrants who from 1740 to 1760 crossed the Yad- 
kin in search of a new home in N. C. 

**They founded several Presbyterian Churches in what after- 
wards became Mecklenburg Co. Of these, John McKnitt and 
another brother became elders in the present Hopewell. Major 
Sharp and Mr. Sample and their wives were members of the same 
organization. The name Hopewell was given, it is said, to the 
infant congregation in fond remembrance of the old church from 
which they emigrated. In like manner, Hezekiah Alexander 
became the founder and ruling elder in the Sugar Creek. The 
whole tribe of these Alexanders were remarkable for the tenacity 
with which they adhered to the doctrines and order of Presbytery. 
They always had a learned clergy, were always the patrons of 
schools and the institutions of learning, always zealous, men of 
intelligence, and public spirit and advocates of the rights of 
self-government, of conscience and of Uberty. Not strange was 
it, therefore, that when taxation vdthout representation was at- 
tempted by the British Ministry and enacted by the Parliament, 
when indeed ParUamentary Supremacy was claimed as a part and 
essence of the first voice of resistance to the exercises of these 
arbitrary and tmconstitutional powers and exactions, was found 
to rise from the free, enlighted and virtuous community, then start- 
ing into life between the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers. It was 
so. That commimity acted as one man and resolved to separate 
themselves from the Mother Coimtry. They elected deputies and 
invested them with unlimited powers. These assembled at Char- 
lotte on the 19th of May 1775, and on the 20th united in unani- 
mous Declaration of Independence. 

"Of this Convention of Deputies, not less than six were named 
Alexander. Their Sec. was John McKjiitt Alexander. The 
whole tribe were active Whigs in the war of the American Revo- 
lution which succeeded, my grandfather was beyond the age of 
military operations and services, yet he was selected by Gen. 
Greens as a quasi Aide de Camp, was often pilot of his army and 
by his influence and his money contributed much to the success 
of the American arms in the Southern States. His oldest son, 
William Baine Alexander, then below the military age, saw active 
service diuing the occupancy of Charlotte by Lord Comwallis." 

*'His three daughters were Peggy Alexander, who was bom 
on the 3rd of April, 1766, Polly and Abigail Baine. The former 
married on the 9th of April, 1789, to Francis Alexander Ramsey, 
who has been already mentioned. 

**This brings to mind what I should have mentioned when 
speaking of Reynolds Ramsey, on a preceeding page. During 
the war of the Revolution he was a soldier & compatriot of Wash- 
ington. He was at Valley Forge, at Trenton and at Princeton. 
I have heard him say that it was no exaggeration when the his- 
torians of those great events represent that the ice across Delaware 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 91 

River and the frozen roads the soldiers traveled were marked by 
the blood from their naked feet. 

"He supplied the Republican Army with flour from his mill on 
the Marsh Creek and refused British gold for his breadstufifs, 
when offered by those he had reason to believe were in the interest 
of the enemies of his coimtry. I have heard him say that he was 
as poor in 1781 as at the commencement of the war, and when 
counting over and examining his box of Continental nioney left 
on his hands worthless as waste paper, I have seen his eyes glisten 
with patriotic joy at the recollection of his sacrifices & self-denial 
which made him penniless. That was the price he paid for Amer- 
ican liberty & independence. 

"When his sons had left him and emigrated to the West, my 
grandfather sold out his mills on Marsh Creek and removed to 
Gettysburg, now a flourshing inland village. It was laid out by 
Samuel C^ttys, Esq., who had married his (Ramsey's) sister. 
He resided in that town several years but still retained his mem- 
bership in his Old Church at Millers Town. Summer and winter 
with his wife and daughter, Mrs. King, he drove out there every 
Sabbath in his plain old-fashioned carriage and Ustened to Mr. 
Paseton, his old Minister. He was a devout and attentive wor- 
shiper in the house of God, as well as in his own family. I have 
often heard him mention the names of Davies, Blair, Smith, the 
Tennants and others of the earlier Presbyterian Divines. He 
was an humble and very pious man, a good citizen and a very con- 
scientious oflBcer, fond of good men and good books, in these he 
delighted. He reached his three score and ten with few of the 
infirmities of age. After that age he foimd it necessary and ad- 
visable to comply with the earnest and dutiful request of his two 
sons of Tennessee to follow them there and to spend the evening 
of his life with or near them. This he carried into effect inl808. 
There for the present I shall leave him till hereafter on another 
page to resume his history. 

**On page third of these sheets it has been mentioned that the 
eldest son of the family, Francis A. Ramsey, had foimd in the se- 
clusion of his fathers neighborhood, no suitable theatre for the 
exercise of his capacities & his attainments. A brother ot his 
mother, John Alexander, had already removed to and occupied 
a pleasant farm situated on Big Limestone Creek in Washington 
County in North Carolina. Other Pennsylvanians had settled 
near him and formed the nucleus of a good Congregation of Pres- 
b3rterians and of an enlightened society. The imcle invited his 
young and aspiring nephew to come to the Backwoods, as the 
frontier is always called. His neighbors united in the same invita- 
tion. It comported exactly with the disposition and choice of 
the young man, now in his nineteenth year. With tears in his 
eyes and a heavy heart he bade adieu to his fond parents and other 
members of the aflfectionate family on Marsh Creek. 

"I have heard my father often tell the sorrowful feeling he en- 

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92 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

dured on leaving the home of his youth on a journey of five hun- 
dred miles to the unknown wilds of the Western Wilderness in- 
fested then and for many years afterward with imfriendly tribes 
of Indians and by white men, also, little in advance of Savages, 
in civilization and observance of law and order. 

**0n an extreme frontier everywhere there are always found 
a few lawless men who resort thither to avoid the penalty of crime 
and to find an* immunity from ptmishment awarded to the wrong- 
doer, in older and better regulated communities. Happily for 
the world, however, the distructive principle is cotmteracted or 
is weakened by the conservative. 

**Upon Holston and Chucky as the then new settlements were 
designated, the large mass of the new settlers were eminently 
conservative and law abiding. Perhaps in no frontier commimity 
was there ever exibited a simpUcity as primitive or a patriotism 
as genuine and efficient as then existed in Washington Co. of N. C. 
There om- yoimg and adventiu-ous immigrant found a home first 
in the house of his mother's brother. At an early period after 
his arrival there, it became known that he imderstood surveying. 
His compass aijd chain he had brought with him. With his horse 
this constituted his entire fortime. He needed nothing further. 
These gave him at once emplo)anent, competency and position, 
either as principle or a deputy. He held at the same time the 
office of surveyor, Sheriff and Clerk. He was nineteen years old 
when he left Pa., but the minor age worked no disqualification 
for office. Every inhabitant and non-resident were entering 
their land warrants on the vacant territory and the Compass be- 
came an instrumentality in extending the new settlements, not 
less necessary and effective than the axe and file. 

**When in 1784 the cession to Congress by the Legislature of 
N. C. of her Western Counties had produced general excitement 
and dissatisfaction west of the Alleghanies, Francis A. Ramsey 
took sides with the insurgents. He was Sec. of one of the Con- 
ventions whose action withdrew the allegiance of the western 
people from the Mother State, and established for them a new 
Commonwealth, thereafter known as the State of Franklin. Under 
this anomalous government he held office both civil and military. 
He was one of the Council of State and was sent by The Franklin 
Authorities on an embassy to negotiate the terms of separation 
between the two antagonistic and rival governments. 

*'When FrankUn had ceased to be and the Western people 
had returned to their allegiance to North Carolina, passing on 
ofl&cial business to New Bern, through Mecklenburg County, Col. 
Ramsey formed the acquaintance of Miss Peggy, oldest daughter, 
as has been mentioned, of John McKnitt Alexander. On the 7th 
of April, 1789 she became his wife. Soon after this date they 
moved across the mountains and settled on Little Limestone Creek. 
The property has since been occupied by Mr. Broil, I believe, and 
is not far from the present crossing of the E. T. & V. R. R. They 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 93 

had both previous to their marriage been members of the Presby- 
terian Church. They are now in the boimds of Salem Congrega- 
tion, of which the Rev. Samuel Doak was the pastor. Here my 
oldest brother Wm. Baine Alexander was bom on the 26th of 
March, 1791. 

"During the next or succeeding year, my parents removed to 
the Swan Pond in the present Knox Coimty. The authorities 
of the southwestern territory had organized a Court for the Dis- 
trict of Hamilton. Of this court my father was made clerk. It 
held its session at Knoxville, a recently established town, and 
now the seat of the Territorial Government. My father had 
had made seVeral most eligible locations of land in this County. 
On several accounts the Swan Pond was the most desirable loca- 
tion for a residence. It was the center and nucleus of a Presby- 
terian congregation, the uplands were exceeding fertile, a good 
proportion of lowland suitable for meadows, a small clear lake 
four or five feet in depth spread its beautiful expanse south of a 
peninsular sufficiently large for the yards and grounds around 
the site of the buildings, and also for a large garden and orchard. 
On this peninsular he determined to erect a mansion for a per- 
manent home. Apprehending malaria from the exhalation of 
such an extent of water, he cut through the Beaver Dam, which 
by obstructing the branches above it, had formed the little lake, 
and by suitable ditches succeeded in draining it off so as to 
bring all the submerged land into tillage or grass. In place of 
the beautiful Swan Pond, as known to hunters and travelers 
for more than a hundred years, it has now the verdure and 
beauty of a Pennsylvania meadow, unsurpassed in the luxuriance 
of its grasses and the depth of its alluvial soil. 

"At first Col. Ramsey erected a temporary residence, 20 
feet by 20 feet, a little in the rear and east of the site he had se- 
lected for his family mansion. It was of hewn logs, one story 
high, a stone chimney in one comer and covered with lap shingles. 
In this cabin I was bom March the 25fth, 1797. My second 
brother, John McKnitt Alexander, was bom the 2nd of May, 
1793, and probably at this place. My third brother, Samuel 
Reynolds, was born August the 9th, 1795, and this writer James 
Gettys McGready, was bom on the 25th of March, 1797. 

*'In the meantime Col. Ramsey, in pursuance of his original 
purpose, had contracted with an architect and carpenter, Thomas 
Hope, who had leamed his trade in London. The first work he 
did in Tennessee was done on my father's house. 

"It was a large stone stmcture, a deep basement and an attic 
besides two tall stories. Its comer, its arches, the top of its 
chimneys, and one row of building rocks, midway between the 
ground and the top of the square, were built of pure blue lime- 
stone, while the walls throughout were built of red granite. Its 
style was Gothic, long narrow windows, cornices richly carved 
in wood, but painted to resemble stone, massive, elaborately 

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94 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

finished and ornamented. It is even yet an imposing and tasteful 
structure. At the census of 1800 it was the most costly and 
most admired building in Tennessee. This, his first job in the 
State, soon brought to Mr. Hope more work than he could exe- 
cute. Dr. Strong, Col. McClimg, and Captain Kain afterwards 
employed him on their mansions. He was not only an architect, 
but also a cabinet maker and an upholsterer. The tall and ele- 
gant secretary and bookcase in which the fancy volumes of Col. 
Ramsey's library were placed and a massive buffet were made by 
Mr. Hope also. In the construction he used as embellishments, 
some American woods which he had never seen before (sumac 
was one of them). As well may be excused in an English me- 
chanic, he put upon his workmanship on the top of Col. Ram- 
seys* secretary, the English lions and the unicorn. Col. Ramsey 
refused to receive the work till he had placed the American 
eagle in suitable propinquity to and above the armonials of the 
British Royalty. 

**This old time honored mansion is six miles east of Elnox- 
ville, and on the road to Dandridge. For twenty-three years it 
was occupied by its first proprietor, and was up to the time of 
his death in November, 1820, a center of generous hospitality, 
refined and elegant and not less sincere, unostentatious and 
cordial. After his decease it became the distributive share of 
my father's large estate to my brother Col. W. B. A. Ramsey, 
since Secretary of State at Nashville. At his removal to the 
seat of government he sold it to my son Col. Francis A. Ramsey, 
thus named for his grandfather. We occupied it several years 
before the Confederate war. While he was in this service it was 
sold and it now belongs to a stranger. *Sic Transit Gloria 
Mundi.' It was a house of prayer and praise. A house for the 
minister of religion, the stranger, the widow, the orphan, the 
exile and the homeless. That old mansion with its pointed gables, 
quaint cornices and antique windows. Dear old home with its 
gay dreams and sunny hours, cloudless skies and visions of bliss 
and glorious happiness gone. All gone, gone." 

"Thou art ttunbling to the dust, old pile, 

Thou art hastening to thy fall ; 

And round thee in thy loneliness 

Clings the ivy to thy wall. 

The occupants are scattered now, 

Who knelt before thy shrine, 

And silence reigns where anthems rose 

In days of Auld I^ang Syne. 

'*And sadly sighs the wandering wind 
Where oft in years gone by 
Prayers rose from many hearts to Him 
The Highest of the High. 
The tramp of many a busy foot 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 95 

That sought thy halls is o'er, 
And many a weary heart around 
Is still forever more. 

"How doth Ambition, Hope take wing, 

How droops the spirit now. 

We hear the distant city's din, 

The dead are mute below. 

The sun which shone upon their paths 

Now gilds their lowly graves. 

The zephyrs which once fanned their brow 

The grass above them waves. 

"Oh, could we call the many back, 

WhoVe gathered here in vain; 

Who've careless roved where we do now 

Who'll never meet again. 

How would our very souls be stirred 

To meet the earnest gaze 

Of the lovely and the beautiful. 

The light of other days." 

"This digression from the main object of the writer of these 
pages, has been suggested by the fond recollections of his early 
home and of the dear parents and other near relatives whose re- 
mains are mouldering in the cemetery nearest to the Old Stone 

"My mother, Peggy Alexander Ramsey died of consumption 
July 7, 1805, aged 39 years, three months and three days. I was 
then eight years old, but can distinctly recollect the whole scene 
and it is still vividly impressed upon my memory. The life and 
character as a lady, as a wife, as a mother, and as a Christian have 
been fully portrayed in a funeral sermon by Rev. Robert Hender- 
son, her favorite preacher. That sermon preached from a text 
of her own selection and another preached at her own request 
in her sick chamber and entitled "The Christian Hope", were 
both published by my disconsolate and bereaved father in pamph- 
let form and extensively distributed among her relatives and re- 
ligious acquaintances. They were afterwards published in book 
form in Sermons by Rev. Robert Henderson, of Murfreesboro, 
Tenn. in eleven volumns. The reader is referred to them. After 
the death of his wife Col. Ramsey was inconsolable and bereaved. 
She had hung around his neck like a jewel. Of their sons, three 
of them had preceeded her to the grave, viz: William B. A. R. 
died March 21, 1899, nearly eight years old. This name was 
given to an infant son not yet named. Samuel Ramsey died Sept. 
16, 1800, suddenly, aged five years, and Francis Alexander Ramsey 
died Nov. 23, 1804, aged five weeks. These bereavements were 
tolerable compared with that occasioned by the death of the 
mother of his living and dead children. The pang for a time was 

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96 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

too heavy to be borne. His solitude became insufferable. His 
father-in-law wrote to him to visit Alexandrianna with his four 
now motherless children. He did so and in the Fall of 1805, he 
with them spent a few weeks in Mecklenburg, Co., N. C. Re- 
turning to his desolate home at Swan Pond, he received a similar 
request from his aged parents to bring his children to Gett)rsburg, 
Pa., to see their grand-parents, who now lived in the village. In 
the Spring of 1806 that visit was accomplished. He took his 
children from there on a visit to some friends in Baltimore. Com- 
ing back to Gettysburg, he renewed his acquaintance with Mrs. 
Ann Fleming, a widowed daughter of Judge Agnew. They were 
married in the Fall and removed soon after to Swan Pond. Soon 
after this my brother, John McKnitt A. R., at the time a student 
of Blount College, in Knoxville, died in that city, My step-mother 
on the birth of a son soon after, named her own son for my de- 
ceased brother, J. McKjnitt A. My grand-parents at Gettysburg 
began to feel the infirmities of age, aggravated by the absence 
of their two sons in Tenn. Their sons invited them to come and 
spend the evening of their life with them. They came accord- 
ingly, but the milder climate of their adopted state rejuvenated 
them so that they again took up house on a small farm in the 
grassy valley near Ebenezer Church of which their son. Rev. S. G. 
Ramsey was pastor. Their widowed daughter, Mrs. King, lived 
with them and soon after married a Mr. Taylor. My aunt did 
not live long after this event, dying of puerperal convulsions. 
She was biu-ied in Ebenezer Church yard. This heavy bereave- 
ment drove this couple back to my father's house, where in happy 
tranquility they passed the remainder of their days. 

**My grandfather died in my father's house March, 1817, and 
my grandmother about 1814. They were gathered to their fath- 
ers at an extreme old age and were interred in the family burying 
ground at Fork (Lebanon) Church. 

**Col. Ramsey was a steady patron of schools and learning 
in his neighborhood. Common school teachers on the Frontier 
were not always at hand and were often incompetent. To supply 
great deficit, he often employed educated young men as clerks 
in his office (then kept according to the law in his house and coun- 
try), and as instructors of his children. The first of these was 
John Naylor Gamble, from Pa. His penmanship was elegant, 
and may still be seen in the records of Hamilton District and 
other comts in Kjioxville. The second was William Smith from 
New England and the third, Mr. Syle Humphreys, from Lime- 
stone near Washington College. Thesie were all good tutors, 
the latter a classical scholar, with whom my brother William and 
myself began our Latin studies. 

** About 1809 we were sent to Ebenezer Academy, and were 
then received under the care and instructions of our uncle, Rev. 
S. G. Ramsey. He had quite a large class of gentlemen and elite 
of the country. James Houston, a graduate of Washington Col- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssto History 97 

lege, and a great linguist, a student of theology under my uncle, 
and a rigid disciplinarian, was employed as assistant teacher in 
the academy. 

"I had already thought that my knowledge of classical litera- 
ture might be mainly ascribed to his attainments in Greek and 
Latin. The health of our principle was precarious and I have 
the duty assigned of hearing the recitations of the more advanced 
young men. I found this very conducive to my own progress. 
My brother and myself were together throughout the whole of 
oiu: studies and then afterwards kept in the same class. 

*'We remained at Ebenezer until Oct. 1814, when having 
been there five years, we were sent to Washington College. We 
took an advanced position, even in Dr. Doak's classes. He was 
a graduate of Nassau Hall in its palmiest days, under John Wither- 
spoon, D. D., its accomplished President. Being in advance of 
most of the members of the class, we devoted some time to the 
study of Hebrew. At the Commencement March 1816, we re- 
ceived the degree of Bachelor of Arts, I in my nineteenth and 
my brother in his seventeenth year. Retiuning home I availed 
myself one year of the miscellaneous books which my father's 
large library afforded. 

*'In the early summer of 1817, I entered the office of my never 
to be forgotten medical preceptor, Joseph Chm-chill Strong, M. 
D., the senior physician of Knoxville, Tenn. In the meantime, 
I had, though under age, been elected Register of Knox Co. This 
aflForded me an agreeable diversity of employment. During my 
first year's study, under Dr. Strong, my stepmother lost her health 
and in November she died during my absence to Salem, N. C, 
whither I had gone for the purpose of bringing home my sister, 
Eliza, who had been sent there to school. On our return we found 
our father for the second time a widower. I continued to reside 
in the family of Dr. Strong, studying medicine, attending his drug 
store, keeping his books and had charge of his keys, his bank de- 
posits, and sometimes, visited his patients. He was an excellent 
teacher of medicine, was the senior physician of the Co. and his 
practical remarks had always validity of medical axiom." 

"After more than two years of diligent application to medi- 
cal studies, in October of 1819, I went on horseback to 
Gettysburg, where I left my horse and took stages for Philadel- 
phia. Dr. Strong gave me letters of introduction to the medical 
faculty of the University of Philadelphia; in the class of 1819 and 
in 1820 I never lost a day, not even one lecture. I took notes of 
all the lectures of all the professors except Dr. Ware on chemis- 
try. I laid in a good medical library in the city. 

"Retiuning to Elnoxville I went to Memphis, then only a 
hamlet, to Brownsville, and other very infant villages, intending 
to settle somewhere in the Western District. My father in the 
meantime had married in April, 1820, his third wife, Mrs. Mar- 
garet Humes, of Kentucky, A few months afterwards he re- 

7— vol 2 

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98 Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 

ceived the appointment of President of the New State Bank, 
then first organized. Preparing to put his bank into operation, 
he remained late and early in the office of (Scotch) James Camp- 
bell, the cashier; it stood at the comer of Cumberland and Wal- 
nut Streets, not far from the First Church and Kennedy's Mil] 

"Here he contracted malarial fever. Unwilling to prescribe 
when the patient was my father, I invited Dr. Strong to take 
the case. Dr. King was called in consultation. They attended 
him faithfully, but on the 13th day of November, 1820, he breathed 
his last. His remains were taken to Knoxville, followed by a 
large concourse of mourning citizens and friends, to the family 
burying ground at Lebanon. 

**The death of Col. Ramsey produced a general sorrow in the 
community of which he had been long and prominent a member. 
The Presbyterian Church had lost one of its brightest orna- 
ments. His own congregation, Lebanon, had been deprived of 
one of its founders, and its most distingushed, as he was the 
most zealous and exemplary of its leaders. The poor and the 
friendless have lost their benefactor and their sympathizing 
friend, and counsellor to the stranger. He had alwa)rs extended 
a cordial welcome, a warm hand and an open house. In all the 
relations of life, a son, a brother, a husband, a father, neighbor, 
citizen, pubHc officer and patrtot, he was dutiful, faithful, ac- 
tive, useful, exemplary, public spirited, enlightened and a true 
lover of his country and a good man. He cared not for wealth 
only as a means of benevolence and beneficence to others. From 
his first arrival on the frontier in 1783 until the time of his death 
in 1820, a period of thirty-seven years, he was never without 
office. Offices were showered upon him, and he proved himself 
worthy and competent of them. Offices which implied ability, 
probity, efficiency and zeal in the public service and high pres- 
sure in character. 

**It is no indelicacy in this writer to refer thus to the charac- 
ter of his deceased father. Indeed to have omitted what has 
been said of him would have been infidelity to historical truth 
and in this writer a filial impiety. For a more special account 
of the deceased, the reader is referred to Ramsey's Annals of 
Tennessee passim. 

**I have already mentioned that I intended to seek a theatre 
of practice in the Western District. I was preparing to execute 
this intention in the summer of 1820; to this my father inter- 
posed the objection that he was getting old and preferred that I 
should remain near him; to this preference was added that of Dr. 
Strong, with the advice that I should settle in Knoxville. I open- 
ed my office, therefore, on Main Street, between Water and 
State Streets, August 1, 1820. In November my father died, 
my brother, W. B. A. R. and m5rself had to administer on his es- 
tate. On the 1st of March, 1820, I was married to the present 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 99 

Mrs. Ramsey, Peggy Barton Crozier, oldest daughter of Capt. 
John and Hannah Crozier, then living at Fruit Hill near Knox- 
ville. After our bridal tour of several weeks we returned and 
prepared for housekeeping. 

"We Hved in Knoxville till January 7, 1823, when we remov- 
ed to a building I had erected on one of my father's farms, around 
Gillams Station, immediately in the fork of Holston and French 
Broad Rivers. Connecting agriculture with professional pur- 
suits, I began to investigate ^e non-remunerative character of 
East Tennessee farming, nearly three thousand miles of river 
navigation between our section of the State and the Gulf of 
Mexico. While in the other direction the Alleghany Ranges 
interposed their formiadable heights, and as an inseparable im- 
pediment to our commercial intercourse by land with the South 
Atlantic Harbors, and through them with the markets of the 

"It will scarce be believed at this day of railroads and steam- 
boats that the isolated position of East Tennessee fifty years 
ago made farming then even with the greatest industry and the 
strictest frugality, so unproductive and unrenumerative. I 
have known com to sell at that early period at six and eight and 
one-third cents a bushel, and for want of purchasers was some- 
times thrown out of the stock as food for the llogs. 

"Meat was correspondingly low, pork ^2.50, beef ^2.25 or if 
stall fed W.50, at these prices there was no requital for the toil of 
the husbandman. The capital invested in real estate was wholly 
improductive. There was no demand for labor. This produced 
a constant immigration of the industries and the enterprising 
from East Tennessee to a section of a country having greater 
commercial facilities. 

"The prevalent opinion was that these embarrassments to 
our agriculture and to our commerce could be traced to the ob- 
struction of our navigation and if the Muscle Shoals so improved 
as to admit the passage of steamboats through them, our pro- 
ducts would find a market below them. I on the other hand, 
after very patient examiiiation of the whole subject, held a very 
different opinion. 

"I insisted that East Tennessee was essentially an Atlantic 
coimtry, and that the true theory of our trade was to reach the 
South Atlantic seaports with our products and through them a 
foreign market. A land connection with Charleston and Au- 
gusta, I believe would be more promotive of our agricultural 
interests than a circuitous and long voyage of river navigation, 
subjecting our cereals to certain deteriorations of the raw ma- 
terial and imposing upon our trades the heavy competition 
their cargoes would encounter with the products of the whole 
West and Northwest. 

"I availed myself of every opportunity of impressing these 
views upon the good judgment of my intelligent countrymen. The 


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100 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

arrival of a small steamboat, The Atlas, Capt. Cornier of Cincin- 
nati, in 1826 at Knoxville, was hailed with lively enthusiasm as 
a dawn of a better day upon the industrial interest of East Tenn. 
I, too, admired the enterprise of the fearless Navigator. I con- 
tributed to the dinner and to the piu^ too by which we were feted. 
I invited him to bring his little craft fiulher up the river to Meck- 
lenburg, the name I had given to my private residence at the con- 
fluence of the two principal streams of East Tenn.'* 

**On the day appointed the Atlas with most of the K. 
people on board, arrived at my landing, an immense concourse of 
citizens from the surrounding coimtry had come in to witness 
the triumph of the genius of Fulton amidst our Shoal Rivers and 
our Motmtain seclusions. 

**From a rostrum erected on the bank of the French Broad, 
I gave Capt. Conner and his voyagers a hearty welcome to my 
house and its hospitalities, but took the occasion of such an assem- 
blage of my countrymen as were present to expatiate at some length 
on the theory of om* trade as already set out on the preceding 
pages which have been briefly stated. My address was published 
in the first issue of the Knoxville paper and was extensively read, 
analysed and calmly considered. 

**I was ab initio a Democrat of the Jeffersonian School — a 
believer in the theory of government which makes the States near- 
ly all Sovereign; the Creators of the Union and not its subjects and 
that in this Sovereignty the States could at their option nullify 
unconstitutional acts of Congress or secede from the Union, when- 
ever such usurpation of power by the Central Government should 
make such secession proper or necessary; that the States as States 
possessed as reserved rights, the power to judge as the mode and 
measures of redress; these were youthful political sentiments in 
1820, they were my political creed in my manhood in 1840, and the 
deliberate convictions in my old age in 1870. 

'*I became early in life one of the tutors of Hamden Sydney 
Academy in Knoxville, I was made Chairman of its Board of 
Trustees dm-ing the late war. Our building and grounds were 
used by the soldiers of both armies and much damage resulted. 

"About 1822 or soon after my father's death, I was elected 
to fill the vacancy caused by his death, in the board of Trustees 
of Blount College. Since the University of East Tenn. 

**Not long after this election to this position I chose to resign 
it, differing with the majority of my Colleagues in the board on 
what I considered a vital question, the minority consisting of 
Major W, B. Lemon, Major Arthm- Crozier, myself and perhaps 
others tendered oiu- resignation. President Sherman refused to 
receipt mine and invited me to withdraw my resignation. Re- 
minding him of the usage of the British Ministry on such occasions 
I replied that the majority in the future must bear the responsi- 
bility for their own policy.*' 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssss History 101 

"Several years after this I was elected Trustee of Washington 
College near Jonesboro, Tenn. I had received from its faculty 
previously my second degree of Master of Arts and being an Alum- 
nus of that oldest Literary Institution west of the Alleghanies, 
I could not decline the literary civility implied by my election as 
a trustee. It was nearly one hundred miles from Mecklenburg, 
my private residence and I rarely attended the meetings of its 
Board of Trustees. Its grounds were classic and historical, I had 
graduated there, its halls were remarkable from age and 
from the character and service and patriotism and worth 
and public and private virtues of its founder and president. Rev. 
Samuel Doak D. D. He had planted it in the wilderness during 
the Revolutionary War. He had watched it diuing its infancy, 
its precarious manhood and before his death had witnessed its 
expansion and matiuity. Like the Monks of the Middle Ages, 
he had kept alive and burning the fire of genuine and profoimd 
literature. The Gov. of his own planting on the distant frontier 
of what is now Tenn., had blossomed under his own culture, had 
matured and borne fruit. Songs of the subUme Horace, the BucoUcs 
of Virgil, Metamorphoses of Ovid, the orations of Demosthenes 
and Cicero, were studied and read aloud imder the ancient trees 
around Dr. Doak's log college, as Martin's Academy was called. 
The primitive forest that had once resounded with the scream of 
the panther, the howling of the wolf and the war whoop of the 
Cherokee, were now vocal with classical Uterature and the young 
men in every cabin in which they boarded around what had once 
become Washington College, were engaged in the studies of Latin, 
Greek and Hebrew langtiages. Such was accomplished by the 
energy and learning of Pres. Doak. His tutors and patrons of 
learning everywhere appreciated his genu is, his attainments and 
his worth. His students idolized him and some few years after his 
resignation of the Presidency and his removal to Bethel, a number 
of them waited upon him and requested him to sit for his likeness 
before an eminent artist. He refused the request at first, but 
an excellent picture of the now venerable and patriotic divine and 
scholar was at length obtained. It was left by the artist in the 
office of Dr. Cunningham, in Jonesboro, a favorite alumnus of 
Washington College. There I first saw it. Attending next day 
a meeting of the Trustees in the new College edifice just then 
erected, I proposed a resolution, *That the Sec. of this Board 
apply for and receive from Dr. Cunningham the picture of Dr. 
Doak now in his possession and that as a token of our respect and 
in veneration of the memory of the president and the founder of 
this college, his picture be removed to the Library room at Wash- 
ington and be perpetually preserved as the most valuable of its 
achievements.' My resolution was carried by acclamation and 
afterwards carried into effect. It was a very accurate likeness 
of him, less finished and artistic than was due to the subject of 
it. But Dr. Doak was remarkable for the simplicity of his charac- 

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102 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ter and it may not be inconsistent with true taste that the painting 
should be inartistic, inexpensive and artificial likeness. 

"When the news arrived at Knoxville of the death of President 
Doak in 183 — , I called together the alumni of Washington College 
within my reach. At that meeting I offered customary resolutions 
of respect to the memory and veneraton for the services and virtues 
of one so useful as our deceased teacher, Dr. Doak. The names 
of the members that I can call to mind were besides myself Hugh 
Brown, J. W. Corvan, S. N. Jacobs and my brother W. B. A. Ram- 
sey. On the motion of Hugh Brown, I was appointed to pre- 
pare a suitable memoir of the deceased. This grateful duty I per- 
fprmed. It was afterwards pubUshed. The proceedings of that 
meeting will be found in the Knoxville Register of that day of 
which W. Brown was co-editor with F. S. Heiskell, Esq. 

**I received at several periods of my life Honorary Membership 
in many of the Literary and Scientific Societies in America. The 
one of which I was especially proud was the Medical College 
of South CaroUna, secured to me, as I believe from my successful 
treatment of a case of dropsy in the chest, in Charleston, S. C. 
and which I had been invited to see and to treat while on a visit 
to that city for my health and professional improvement in the 
winter of 1828-1829. 

"Another literary distinction which I also value high was 
honorary Membership in the E. Society of New York and still 
another from the Historical Society of the State of Georgia, and 
others too numerous to mention here. These with my diploma, 
certificates of honorary membership, commissions from the civil 
authorities were with my family considered my chief treasures, 
my idols when I was driven into exile. 

"My son-in-law Col. P., had become interested in a large farm 
high upon the Ky. river and wishing to improve and develop it 
by the use of machinery, invited my son Alexander to become 
his active partner. This he did. Under his direction a mountain 
was tunneled and one of the forks of the Ky. river directed through 
it. The mills proved to be valuable, fiu-nishing to Frankfort and 
other places vast quantities of plank and lumber, transported in 
rafts down the river. Sometime after he returned to Tenn. and 
becoming acquainted with Miss Presley of S. C, went there and 
married her. I gave him the property sometimes known as the 
Swanpond, more recently as the Stone House. It was almost 
the oldest N. C. Grant in this section of the country. My father 
had entered it in 1786 when he. Gen. White and Col. I^ve were 
the first to explore that frontier. Swanpond was the place where 
I was bom March 25, 1797. The place is a little historical. Bea- 
vers had constructed their dam below the confluence of two small 
streams. This formed a pond covering perhaps two hundred acres. 
To this vast quantities of aquatic birds resorted especially in the 
winter, amongst others the swan in large droves. At a very early 
day French and Spanish traders ascended the river to the fork 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 103 

(afterwards Mecklenburg) a mile from it and procured valuable 
cargoes of feathers and furs. The remains of an old house built 
by a Mr. Evans, pioneer hunter and poultryman is within my re- 
collection. It stood on Mrs. Breck's part of the plantation on 
an eminence commanding a view of the house and Cumberland 
Moimtains on the North and the Alleghanies on the South. When 
I first saw these remains here there were bearing peach trees stand- 
ing near them. Their fruit was most delicious. It was then 
called the French peach and from it the large silver colored and 
juicy peach still in the neighborhood is believed to be derived. 

*'This vista has long since disappeared. They were not far 
from a more recent structure occupied by Mr. Jeremiah M. Mon- 
day. It can be made the most beautiful place in Knoxville, or 
Knox Co. 

"Swanpond is historical furthermore as the oldest, finest and 
most costly structure erected in this part of Tenn. At the close 
of the administration of Washington, my father began it. The 
architect was from London, Thomas Hope, a regular trained 
worker and carver in wood. At the census of 1800 it was the best 
house in the State. Its style is Gothic. Its corners are all blue 
lime-stone, while the arches and the rooms of stone above and next 
to them are of the same material. For twenty years it was the home 
of the pioneer, the stranger, the widow and the orphan. It was 
also the home of the Christian minister. A whole Presbytery 
held its side service in its hall. For the same length of time it 
was the house of prayer. Morning and evening it was vocal with 
the reading of God's word, singing His praises, with the incense 
of prayer around the family altar erected for His worship. 

* 'These memories of the past would be pleasant especially to 
this writer, but for the reflection that within the last ten years 
the house has been desecrated often to the rapid inroads of the 
rude and vulgar imcultivated, often to the fun and folly, froUc 
and vulgarity of the vagrant and perhaps too often to the pur- 
poses of licentiousness and crimes. Such is the history of the 
world and of man. The ashes of the Father of the faithful are 
surroimded now by Pagans and Idolatry. 

"Moimt Zion is now a Turkish Harem. The primitive churches 
planted by Christ's apostles no longer exist and have been sup- 
planted by the temples of the heathens, the Gentiles, the infidel 
the licentious and the profane. It is so ordained of Heaven. It 
is all right, I yield to it and submit. 

"As before stated I gave as his patrimony to my son Col. F. 
A. Ramsey, Swanpond which had been the home of his grand- 
father of the same name and title. He occupied and improved 
it for a few years and the war coming on he took his wife and chil- 
dren back to S. C. He returned to Tenn. and enlisted upon the 
active duties of a soldier's life. He joined Capt. Kain's Artillery, 
went to Chattanooga, bore a gallant part in the affair at Bridge- 
port, followed his Capt. in the campaign he carried across the 

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104 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Legratchee, Walden and Cumberland Mountains. From these 
towering heights their cannons resounded one day from one emi- 
nence, the next day from another, perplexing and confusing the 
enemy by their rapid change of place and giving rise this way to 
the report that the mountains were filled with rebels and causing 
thus a partial retreat of the enemy." 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 105 

rBSrBS"B'^ M S^M . '^M*' i rw'' i ivvvv'w"iivS??S i !9ffSP^ 


Ramsey^s Autobiography Continued — ^He Accepts 

Amnesty from Pres't Andrew Johnson — ^John 

Howard Payne Visits Mecklenburg, Writes 

"The Lament of the Cherokee"— Two 

Letters from Andrew Jackson to 

'Dr. Ramsey — ^His Memoirs 

of Tennessee. 


"At the end of the year 1866 I relinquished the lease I had at 
our first retreat and formed another with Rev. Dr. Pharr a few 
miles nearer Hopewell. In some respects the location was better. 
The dwelling house was more comfortable and better fiunished. 

"A little income from Tenn., always sent promptly or a Uttl,e 
in advance by oiu* son Crozier, the emoluments derived from my 
practice and my journalistic contributions, and especially the skillfiU 
attention of our son McKnitt upon a small farm furnished us an ade- 
quate support. The frugal and inexpensive habits of my family, with 
^eir industry and economy required no heavy expenditiu'es of 
money. In our secluded neighborhood there were no visits of cere- 
mony, no show, no fashion. We formed oiu* own society, had few asso- 
ciates and no intimate friends. We had not become more selfish but 
more domestic. The theatre for exercise of oiu* affections was plainly 
more contracted, more centralized, not so expensive and widely 
diffused as before our exile and banishment from oiu* early home. 
This was more noticeable on myself. I had never, since July, 1819, 
been without office. I had had the professional charge of a very 
extensive practice, embracing several coimties arotmd my residence. 
I had had the charge of several farms, besides the building and im- 
provements of my town lots. My mills and ferry gave me additional 
care and trouble. I was one of the Trustees of three colleges and 
two Academies and Commissioner of Common Schools. I was 
a State Director of several R. R. and Agent of Tenn. for the sale 
of her bonds and the purchase of the iron and equipments of the 
E. Tenn. & Ga. R. R. I assisted in building the first steamboat 
that was ever owned or used in Knoxville. I was State Director 
of half a dozen banks and President of the L. C. & C. R. R. Bank, 
and President of the Branch Bank of the Bank of Tenn. at Knox- 
ville. I was also Confederate States Depository and had charge 
of and disbursed more than forty-two millions of dollars for the 

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106 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Confederate States Government. Besides the pressure of these 
varied engagements, I was a frequent contributor to the scientific, 
literary, religious and political joiunals of the coimtry and the 
author of the Annals of Tennessee. In short, from July 1817 to 
April 1865, I cannot recollect that I was ever idle a whole day. 
Omnis in hoc was my peculiar characteristic. If I had a thing 
to do I was absorbed by it till it was finished. I took pleasure 
in my business. It was a part of my religion to achieve. Achieve- 
ment was my idol, the good of others my purpose. I had endeav- 
oured as age was advancing rapidly upon me, having already 
reached my three score and ten, to decline further public pxu-suits. 
I hailed the Surrender of 1865 with real pleasure and genuine 
satisfaction as the termination of my public life and public service 
and public usefulness. 

"On the 17th of October, 1867, oiu* daughter Susan was mar- 
ried to Wm. Davidson Alexander, Esq. of Alexandrianna, Meck- 
lenburg Coimty, N. C. His family was old ancj respectable, he 
was an alumnus of Davidson College, went with his three brothers 
into the war heartily and lost heavily dining the conflict. He has 
industry, frugality and enterprise, is living on his own large cotton 
farm and near to a R. R. and a good market and with blessing of 
God, the yoimg people will do well. They are in a good Scotch- 
Irish neighborhood and both of them members of Hopewell Church 
and within- convenient distance of it and of Alexandrianna Acad- 
emy. Oiu- son Crozier had paid us a long and pleasant visit during 
the same summer and brought back with him to our Exile Retreat 
No. 2, his widowed sister, Mrs. Breck. He was lU'ged to remain 
with us to witness the ceremony of his youngest sister's marriage, 
but his duty to his cUents at home called him to Knoxville. I 
accompanied him to Charlotte and never saw him again. 

**Col. F. A. Ramsey had invested the proceeds of his Swanpond 
farm in a steam floiuing mill not far from Rome, Ga. He found 
the investment not very remunerative and while on a visit to us, 
heard of a large property in Rowan Co. with mills and other ma- 
chinery, all farming stock implements, house fumitiu'e, for rent. 
I went with him to see it. We determined to move to and occupy 
it. It was late at night when the Charlotte mail was brought in. 
A letter in a mourning envelope attracted my notice. It was 
from the Hon. J. H. Crozier, my wife's brother, and contained the 
distressing intelligence that our son, Gen. Crozier Ramsey, was 

**At the time of receiving the letter of Col. Crozier announcing 
the death of Gen. Ramsey I need not add that I was overwhelmed 
with grief. Mrs. Ramsey and Mrs. Breck happened to be absent 
that night from our Retreat on a visit to our daughter Susan, sick 
at her own house four miles off. McKnitt and myself endured 
the stroke of that melancholy night of loneliness and desolation. 
What added to my grief was next morning I had to be the messen- 
ger to bear the sad news to my wife and daughters at Mr. Alexan- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 107 

der's. As I approached the place Mrs. Breck saw me first and 
before I had uttered a word ran to the gate exclaiming 'What 
is the matter? Is Brother Crozier dead?' During the morning 
she told me that she had had presentments of the overwhelming 
calamity but had withheld them from us. Such presentments I 
have often experienced; I have known several instances of the phe- 
nomemon in others, which I cannot stop here to detail. I con- 
sider there is nothing in the belief of their truth either unreason- 
able or imphilosophical.'' 

"In a few days I tore myself from my afflicted family and 
went to Rowan Co. preparatory to the estabHshing of Exile Retreat 
No. 3. In a few days Mrs. Ramsey and Mrs. Breck reached otu: 
new home. Though sensible in the highest degree of the extent 
of our latest bereavement, devoted themselves to their new domes- 
tic duties. How we longed for some Tenn. friends who had known 
Crozier, our other deceased children, oturselves and thus knowing 
could appreciate oiu- loss and our affliction. But here we were 
in a double sense entire strangers. Not one came in to weep with 
us or to cheer us or to offer the consolations of religion. So true 
is it that *the witch is always left to weep'. Even the pastor of 
Tyatira, Rev. S. C. Pharr, D. D., only said on his first and last 
call at our house of mourning, *This is the common lot of human- 
ity.' And then alluding to an xmfounded that 

our son had made a very large fee, very recently in a land specula- 
tion, added *all that, you will now inherit, he had neither wife nor 
children, it will now be your own.' The sordid soul, the unsym- 
pathising heart and the vulgar breeding, implied in such a remark, 
were unbecoming his position and his sacred office, and I resented 
it as such by telling him that instead of comforting us by his visit 
he had insidted and wounded our feelings, begged him never to 
speak to us again. Avarice had turned his heart to stone and a 
heathen would have had more religion and more manners, too. 
He felt the rebuke and never again entered my house. 

**The suits that had been instituted in the State and Federal 
Courts at Knoxville for the recovery of my real estate, made it 
necessary for me to go immediately to Tenn." 

"I dreaded the scenes of my boyhood and of my manhood and 
of my half century of active public life and extended usefulness 
to my country. Six years of our exile had reconciled me to our 
changed condition. But there was one change I had never con- 
templated or expected. How could I go into Gay Street, to Ram- 
sey's Block in which was my son's law office and find it vacant. 
There for twenty years or more I had always found him an3 met 
him with a smile of filial affection on his face and of dutiful wel- 
come and fond regard on every feature. That office was now 

"But my duty could neither be delegated nor performed by 
another. I must go there in person. I took the train via At- 
lanta. The season was inclement and it would be too cold in 

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108 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbs History 

February. From Charlotte all the way a dim recollection re- 
minded me at every station of some earnest effort to serve the 
South and to be useful to the country. But I saw them now 
with a stoical apathy. I arrived at Dalton in the night. Then 
taking the East Tenn. & Ga. R. R. train I was on my own road. 
Every step from there to Knoxville I knew as I did my own plan- 
tation. Of the entire work, magna pars fui. From the first 
meeting of the New Board at Athens in 184.... to the arrival of 
the first car at Knoxville, I had been annually and regularly ap- 
pointed by the Governor a State Director. This new board 
galvanized into life the old Hiwassee R. R. By Gov. Trousdale I 
was appointed State Agent, sold Tennessee bonds for $104.60 
and with the proceeds bought its rails and equipments and com- 
pleted my agency satisfactorily to the State, the commimity and 
the company. This enterprise had revolutionised the trade of 
East Tennessee. I had sold com in 1823 at 20 cents per bushel 
in June, wheat at 33-^ and beef and pork at $2.50 per cwt. Corn 
was now above $1.00, wheat $1.50 and pork and beef $5.00 and 
$6.00. I foimd thriving villages all along the route and beau- 
tiful farms and enterprising farmers all over the country. A new 
creation had taken place. The metamorphosis was ever)rwhere 
apparent. It was night when I left Dalton. Day appeared as 
the train approached Cleveland; there I received the warm grasp 
of Tennessee Longstreet. It was so at all the stations. It was so * 
at all the stations we passed, a cordial welcome from Whigs and 
Democrats and Union men. 

**I stopped at Lenoirs to see my two grandsons, now mother- 
less. One of them I had never seen. Henry Ramsey Lenoir 
bore the image of his sainted mother, but looked upon me as a 
stranger. At Lenoir I met quite a number of old friends and was 
received as in days of old. I walked with Dr. Lenoir to their 
private cemetery. I wept over the grave of poor Henrietta, my 
favorite child and the favorite of every one and especially of my 
wife and me. James Ramsey Lenoir and his sweet little brother 
died on the same night and were buried in the same grave. Prom- 
ising to return in a few days and make a longer stay, I next morn- 
ing went on the train to Knoxville. At the depot I was met by 
and surrounded by an immense number of friends and neighbors 
who gave me an intensely warm and enthusiastic welcome. Pas- 
sengers on the train the day before had given the information 
that I was at Lenoirs, would be up the next morning. That con- 
course at the depot was immense and it was sometime before we 
got into town. I went not beyond Col. Crozier's office. I could 
not think of going as far down Gay Street as Ramsey Block and 
did not do so for several days. That same afternoon I rode out to 
Riverside with my grandson, Wilberforce Dickson and remained 
with my daughter several days. The Sabbath intervened and I 
went to our old Church Lebanon. Rev. H. Brown was the 
stated supply. I occupied my old pew. I looked around for the 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 109 

old dders and the old members. Dr. Curry, our last pastor, I 
kn^w was dead and so of my brother, J. M. A. Ramsey. A new 
set of elders and deacons had been formed in my six years of ab- 
sence, not to *the manor bom*, the pews Were empty. The con- 
gregation exceedingly small, lacking everything but Presbyterian 
people as of old. The church-yard was broken down and burned 
but not much injury had been done to the building itself. But 
the greatest change was near the residence of my old place 
'Mecklenbiu'g.* Not a single building that I had left there in 
1863 was now standing, not a structure left. Mansion, office, 
library, kitchen, smoke-house, cribs and bams were all either 
destroyed by fire or water. The sight was mournful. Still 
everyone of the congregation greeted me cordially. 

"I had not yet been on the streets in town only as I came in 
from the train. But nearly a week after my arrival I went into 
Knoxville. Leaving Col. Crozier's office, I went down Gay 
Street. Every acquaintance I met gave me a hearty welcome 
back to my old home and seemed really anxious for me ajt once to 
bring back my family and settle again. Old and yoimg, rich and 
poor, all political parties, all sects without an exception were de- 
lighted to see me. I could not, without incivility, get off the 
streets. It was nearly twelve o'clock before I could reach Cum- 
berland Street. 

"No one can tell the sadness I felt when I went into the 
office so recently occupied by my son and received from his phy- 
sicians the incidents of his sudden death. Some of the circum- 
stances lead to the supicions of poison. The Judgment of the 
Great Day will reveal it all. I foimd that he had been robbed of 
his money. Some of his own papers, some of mine cannot be 
found. The whole thing was shrouded in mystery. For a year 
before his death the country had become comparatively quiet. 
Crozier went anywhere without molestation. Once only was he 
assaulted in the streets. Once a pistol was fired through his 
window at night. In one of his letters he mentioned the great 
reUef he had experienced, a heavy biu-den had been taken off of 
him and he felt like a new man. The labor which he had en- 
dtu'ed for many years of investigating my land cases, of hunting 
up testimony and taking depositions, had come to an end and he 
had the satisfactory consciousness of knowing that everything 
had been done in preparing them for trial and promoting my 
success. This he imparted to me cheerfully and he looked for- 
ward to the time when we might retiun and all live together in 
one touse again. Could some diabolical instrument of some of 
the parties concerned who knew the thoroughness and extent of 
his professional preparation in the cases, have been bribed to 
perpetrate his murder by poison. I have said this to no one. 
The Judgment day will reveal it. In my own case I have always 
believed that the poor Michigan who fired my house was em- 
ployed at and sent from Cincinnati to do the burning. Money 

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110 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

has become potential for mischief ever since 1860. It's poten- 
tiality for the pmpose of gratifying the malignity and stimulafing 
the latent revenge of a devil incarnate is unquestioned. I may 
be mistaken. Time may not reveal it. Eternity will. 

"I, in company with Mrs. Swan, went one morning to Gray 
Cemetery where Crozier was buried. We planted some ever- 
greens on his lonely grave. May angels guard his resting place 
till the morning of the Resurrection. 

"After remaining in Tennessee nearly two months alternately 
at Riverside and Knoxville and Lenoirs, I bade them all adieu 
and returned via Washington and Morganton to my Exile Re- 
treat No. 3. Our daughter, Mrs. Dickson and her two boys 
came with me. They had stood the brunt of adversity and of 
isolation from us for five years. Mrs. Dickson unaided and 
alone had managed her farm so well she was able by her domestic 
habits, her skill and frugality to bear the expense of such a jour- 
ney. We came by rail to Wolf Creek, thence to Morganton by 
stage an4 thence by steam again- to our house. This journey up 
the French Broad, the very route I had projected in 1828 and as- 
sisted in siu-veying in 1836, brought to mind the frequent travels 
on horseback which I made in the incipiency of the great work 
of connecting the south and west by railroad. The visions of my 
youth were realized. Old friends at Asheville and Morganton spoke 
of it to me in very complimentary terms. Arrived at home I 
found all well. Mrs. Dickson spent the summer at Retreat 
and dining her stay on more than one occasion my entire family 
consisting of only three sons, three daughters, our grandchildren, 
were often all with us at one time. To this there was one excep- 
tion. Dr. Lenoir and his two motherless boys were at their home 
in Tennessee. Such unions are- not often seen after such separa- 
tions, such dangers and such adversities. Such a reunion may 
not take place again. On earth the Lord prepares us all for a 
glorious union above, one where there will be no more separa- 
tion, no more sorrow, no more affliction, no more death, where 
those dear members of our flock who have gone before us to 
heaven will . be the first to welcome us there, a united family 

*'Many men on arriving at the close of life complain of all its 
pursuits and enjoyments as proving vanity and vexation of spirit, 
but to my mind this is just an intimation that the plan of their 
lives had been selfish, that they have missed the method of doing good 
and that they have sought for pleasure not in the legitimate use 
but in foolish abuse of their faculties. I cannot conceive that 
the house of death should cause the mind to feel ill, acts of kind- 
ness done to others, acts of beneficence to one's country, all ex- 
ercises of devotion performed in a right spirit, all deeds of justice 
executed, all rays of knowledge disseminated, all deeds of human- 
ity and patriotism during life as vain, unprofitable and unconsol- 
ing even at the moment of leaving forever this sublimary scene." 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 111 

ACCEPTS amnesty. 

It was while Dr. Ramsey was living in North Carolina that 
Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, issued a pardon 
to him, which he accepted in the following letter addressed to 
Secretary of State, William H. Seward: 

Exiles Retreat, 

Near Charlotte, N. C. 

Dec. 2, 1365. 
"Hon. W. H. Seward, 

Secretary of State, &c., 

I hasten to ratify to you that the pardon of President J. 
dated Nov. 10, and sent to the care of my son. Gen. J. C. 
Ramsey at Nashville, Tenn., has been received by him. He in- 
forms me that it is my duty to say to you that the pardon is ac- 
cepted and that I had taken the amnesty oath prescribed in the 
proclamation of the President dated May 29, 1865. 

I have the honor to be. 

Very respectfully. 
Your Obt. Serv't., 
J. G. M. Ramsey.*' 


In 1835 John Howard Pa)me came to Knoxville to publish an 
account of his arrest and imprisonment by the authorities of the 
State of Georgia while he was acting as Secretary to John Ross, 
Chief of the Cherokee Indians, then living in that state. A 
lengthy account of his incarceration and unnecessarily severe 
ptmishment was published in the Knoxville Register, December 
2, 1835, written by himself, for which piupose he remained in 
Knoxville several weeks, and while there made friends. Dr. 
Ramsey met Payne and entertained him at Mecklenburg, and 
this was one of the brightest episodes in the Doctor's long and 
distinguished career. No man was ever more tenderly attached 
to his home and family and kindred than he, and to entertain the 
author of '*Home Sweet Home", (which found its way around 
the whole earth) and whose imhappy career was in such sad con- 
trast to the sentiment of his immortal song, would be to one of 
Dr. Ramsey's fine sensibilities and high character, a memory to 
love and cherish as long as he lived. 

When this Chapter was being written a diligent search was 
made among some boimd files of the Knoxville Register in the 

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112 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

possession of Mrs. D. M. Laffitte of Bristol, Tennessee, a daugh- 
ter of Frederick S. Heiskell, for the issue of the Register of De- 
cember 2, 1835, but it was not to be found; and so this account by 
Payne of his experiences among the Cherokees — an accoimt both 
interesting and historically very valuable — ^is lost. 

One natiu-ally wonders how Payne came to go to the Cherokee 
country and what business he had there, and the accepted ex- 
planation given is that he was traveling through many States to 
get subscribers and material for a periodical he was trying to 
establish. The material he could get among the Cherokees 
would be of a kind new to him, and, under the existing relations 
between the Cherokees and the United States government, in- 
teresting to the American people. When he came to the Chero- 
kee country he got in touch with John Ross, the chief, and be- 
came his confidential friend and adviser, and developed into an 
outspoken upholder and champion of the Cherokee cause in 
their differences with the United States. This brought him un- 
der suspicion with the agents of the government, and finally the 
Georgia State troops raided John Ross's residence at night and 
took Ross and Payne into custody, and marched them twenty 
miles to military headquarters, where they were held prisoners 
for several days. The military seem to have acted without 
orders from their superiors. At any rate, the government agents 
denied any connection with it to Lewis Cass, Secretary of War. 
The arrest naturally created great excitement and drew from 
Thatcher M. Payne, brother of John Howard, and a lawyer in 
New York City, the following letter : 

"New York, November 27, 1 835. 
**To Hon. Lewis Cass. 

**I have just received information that my brother, John 
Howard Payne, on the night of the 10th of November instant, 
while in company with John Ross, the Cherokee chief, at his dwell- 
ing in the Cherokee nation, was seized by a party of about twenty- 
five of the Georgia guard, and conducted by them to the head- 
quarters, about twenty miles distant from the place of seizure, 
where, as I am informed, he is now imprisoned. Mr. Payne's 
general object, in a tour through the Western and Southern sec- 
tions of the United States, has been partly to obtain subscribers to 
a periodical work in which English and American writers may 
meet upon equal grounds, and partly to collect such materials for 
his own contributions to the work as a personal acquaintance with 
the various peculiarities of our extensive and diversified country 
may supply. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 113 

**To one acquainted with his pacific disposition and exclusively 
literary habits, the supposition of his entertaining any views po- 
litically dangerous, either in reference to the State of Georgia or 
the United States, in their respective relations to the Cherokees, 
if it were not accompanied with results painful, and perhaps peril- 
ous to himself, would seem ludicrous. My informant, a stranger, 
states that *it is there reported that he is considered by the officers 
of the government to be a spy;' whether any 'officers of government' 
is meant those of Georgia, or of the United States, I am not in- 

"He likewise states that *Mr. Payne is supposed to have some 
influence in producing the failiu^e of the late treaty with the Chero- 

**In the present excited state of feelings in that section of the 
country on subjects connected with the Indian removal, these may, 
perhaps, be serious charges to the personal safety of one coming 
under suspicions of the character above alluded to, however groimd- 

**I take the liberty (I hope not unwarrantable) to request and 
urge a speedy inquiry into the circumstances of the case, and the 
use of the means within the power of your department of the govern- 
ment to procure his release if, as will undoubtedly appear, upon 
investigation, he shall be found to have beeii wrongfully detainejl. 
*'I am, with respect, 

^ * Your most obedient servant, 


Payne's history and genius. 

John Howard Payne was one half Jew, his father being William 
Payne who was of English descent, and his mother, Sarah Isaacs, 
a full blooded Jewess and daughter of a converted Jewish father. 
Payne was bom in New York, June 9, 1791, and died in Timis, 
Africa, while U. S. Consul there, April 9, 1852. He was intellect- 
ually brilliant, versatile, Bohemian, changeable, in youth striking- 
ly handsome, and could do many things — not all of them the best 
they wercever done — but in a manner which marked him a won- 
derful man. One can but envy his splendid and varied capacity — 
his dazzling manifestations of genius that btutied and glowed and 
created and astounded. 

The voliune and variety of his work can be judged when it 
is known that he wrote eleven tragedies, nine comedies, twenty 
six dramas, seven operas and ten farces. Of his tragedies 
one, "Brutus", was an overwhelming success, and is still recog- 
nized as a living drama. 


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114 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

One opera **Clari*' can never die, for it first gave to the world 
"Home, Sweet Home". The first production of the opera was 
on May 8, 1823, at the Covent Garden Theater in London, where 
Henry P. Bishop was Director of Music. The words were written 
by Payne in Paris and he had heard the air sung by a flower girl 
in Italy. He sent the words and the air to Bishop, who had heard 
the air before and who adapted the words to it, and so the immor- 
tal song was then born. 

As an actor when but a youth he created a furor in both 
England and America, and he was the first American actor to 
attain an established standing among the English people. Even 
in the city of Paris, the French acclaimed his histrionic genius. 

Payne was twice appointed American Consul in Tunis, once 
by President John Tyler, on August 23, 1842, through the influence 
of Daniel Webster and William L. Marcy. He received notice 
of his recall November 20, 1845, but was reappointed in 1851 and 
left America in April of that year for Tunis, never to return alive. 

He died in Tunis and was buried there. The U.S. government 
caused a marble slab to be placed over his grave with the following 
inscription : 

* 'Memory Of 

Twice Consul of the United States of America for the 
Kingdom of Tunis. 

This stone is here placed by a grateful country. He died 
at the American Consulate in this city after a painful 
illness, April 1, 1852. He was bom in the City of Boston, 
State of Massachusetts, June 8, 1792." 

"His fame as a poet and dramatist are well known wherever 
the English language is spoken through his celebrated 
ballad of 'Home S^eet Home', and his popular tragedy 
of 'Brutus*, and other similar productions." 

On the four margins of this slab of marble are the following 
lines : 

**Sure when thy gentle spirit fled 
To realms beyond the azure dome 
With arms outstretched, God's angels said, 
Welcome to heaven, *Home, Sweet Home.' " 

There are two errors in this inscription: Payne was bom in 
New York, not Boston; and died on April 9, 1852, instead of April 
1, 1852. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 115 

On October 14, 1882, W. W. Corcoran of Washington addressed 
a letter to Honorable Frederick T. Freylinghuysen, Secretary of 
State, at Washington. 


"Washington, D. C, 

Oct. 14, 1882. 
"The Hon. Frederick T. FreyHnghuysen, 

Secretary of State. 

"Dear Sir — I respectfully ask permission of the State Depart- 
ment to disinter the remains of our countryman, John Howard 
Payne, which now rest in a grave near Tunis, in Africa, that they 
may receive more appropriate sepulture in the bosom of his native 

"Mr. Pa)me died, as is well known, in the service of the State 
Department, on the 9th of April, 1852, while acting as consul of 
the United States at Tunis, and I understand that a marble slab, 
erected by order of the Department, still marks the spot where 
his body was laid. 

"It has seemed to me that the precious dust of an American 
citizen who sang so sweetly in praise of *Home, Sweet Home' 
should not be left to mingle with any soil less dear to him than 
that of the land which gave him birth, and which, by the beauty of 
its home-life, gave to him his best poetical inspiration. 

"If you concur with me in this sentiment, I beg leave to say 
that I will when favored with yoiu* official permission, charge my- 
self with the duty of providing for the removal of his remains to 
this country, and, on their arrival here, will give to them a new 
and suitable resting place in Oak Hill Cemetery, taking care, of 
course, to mark the spot with a monument, which shall perpetuate 
in the eyes of his countrymen the name of the poet already em- 
balmed in their hearts by his immortal lync. 

"I ought to add, that I make this application to you because, 
as the honored head of the State Department, you seem to be the 
natural custodian of Mr. Payne's grave in Tunis. I am further 
induced to make this appeal to you because, after careful inquiry, 
I am led to believe that Mr. Payne has now no descendant or a 
collateral kindred to whom I could address a communication on 
the subject. In evidence of this fact, I beg to invite your attention 
to the accompanying letters. 

"I have the honor to be, sir, 

"Your most obedient servant, 


Correspondence followed which led to the granting of Mr. 
Corcoran's request, and on March 22, 1883, the steamer bearing 
Payne's remains reached New York and the remains lay in state 
in the Governor's room in the City Hall. 

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116 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

On June 9, 1883, they were reinterred in Oak Hill Cemetery, 
Washington, D. C, with very imposing ceremonies, among the 
most imposing ever accorded an American. 

The movement to bring the remains back was initiated and 
carried out entirely at the expense of Mr. Corcoran whom all Amer- 
icans will honor for his splendid philanthropy, even while they 
hold the opinion that this duty should have been initiated and 
performed by the United States government at its expense. 

It was while Payne was employed by John Ross that he wrote 

**THE lament of THE CHEROKEE. 

"0, soft falls the dew, on the twilight descending. 
And tall grows the shadowy hill on the plain ; 

And night over the distant forest is bending 

Like the storm spirit, dark, o'er the tremulous main. 

"But midnight enshrouded my lone heart in its dwelling, 
A tumult of woe in my bosom is swelling 
And a tear unbefitting the warrior is telling 

That hope has abandoned the brave Cherokee. 

"Can a tree that is torn from its root by the fountain. 
The pride of the valley; green, spreading and fair, 
Can it flourish, removed to the rock of the mountain, 
Unwarmed by the sun and unwatered by care ? 

"Though vesper be kind, her sweet dews in bestowing, 
No life-giving brook in its shadows is flowing. 
And when the chill winds of the desert are blowing. 
So droops the transplanted and lone Cherokee. 

"Sacred graves of my sires; have I left you forever? 
How melted my heart when I bade you adieu; 
Shall joy light the face of the Indian? Ah, never; 
While memory sad has the power to renew. 

"As flies the fleet deer when the blood-hound is started. 
So fled winged hope from the poor broken-hearted; 
Oh, could she have turned ere forever departing. 
And beckoned with smiles to her sad Cherokee. 

"Is it the low wind through the wet willows rushing, 
That fills with wild numbers my listening ear? 
Or is it some hermit rill in the solitude gushing, 

The strange playing minstrel, whose music I hear? 

" 'Tis the voice of my father, slow, solemnly stealing, 
I see his dim form by yon meteor, kneeling 
To the God of the White man, the Christian, appealing, 
He prays for the foe of the dark Cherokee. 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 117 

*'Great Spirit of Good, whose abode is in Heaven, 
Whose wampum of peace is the bow in the sky, 
Wilt thou give to the wants of the clamorous ravens. 
Yet turn a deaf ear to my piteous cry? 

"O'er the ruins of home, o'er my heart's desolation; 
No more shalt thou hear my tmblest lamentation; 
For death's dark encotmter, I make preparation; 
He hears the last groan of the wild Cherokee." 


The following account of a visit to the venerable residence of 
Dr. Ramsey, is from "Ora", the correspondent of the Mobile Ad- 
vertiser, and was republished in the Knoxville Daily Register of 
April 6/ 1862. 

**I enjoyed a most delightful visit, a few evenings ago, in com- 
pany with the talented and witty editor of the Knoxville Register, 
Col. J. A. Sperry, at the house of the celebrated historian of Ten- 
nessee, Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey, who resides at the jimction of the 
Holston and French Broad Rivers, about foiu* miles northeast 
of Knoxville. The road to the Doctor's house is a most delight- 
ful one, presenting some charming views of the mountain and 
valley scenery. At the junction of the rivers, the Holston winds 
around a b^utiful, undulating country, forming a picturesque, 
indented shore running from the north to the south; while some 
hundred yards above, it falls over a rocky bed, making a pleasant 
nmrmuring sound, and reminds one of the dark-rolling waters 
of the Danube. On the right is presented the mouth of the French 
Broad, running from east to west, with its high, rocky cliffs on the 
north side, jutting over some sixty-five feet. About three hundred 
yards from the mouth, under the cliff, gushes a clear cool spring, 
which is approached by a small boat, Uie scene by moonlight is 
very exquisite. 

''Crossing the Holston, you ascend a graded bank, and near 
a high Indian mound stands an ancient looking building, once called 
Gillam's station, built in 1790, and now the residence of the vener- 
able historian, surrounded by primitive forest trees. Near the 
main building is a small cottage, over which is still to be seen the 
Doctor's original 'shingle', on a plain board about four feet long 
and one wide, which was once painted white, but now faded, 
with black letters still plainly visible, 'Doctor Ramsey.' 

"This was once the doctor's office and laboratory, and is still 
in its primitive state, while in an adjoining room is his library 
and museum. It was here he wrote his first volume of the history 
of Tennessee. The second volume, which comes down to the times 
of the Mexican war, imder Mr. Polk's administration, I learn is 
also completed, the publication of which was prevented by the 

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118 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

revolution. His museum contains many old Indian relics, and 
two pieces of Indian sculpture resembling very much the Indian 

** About 100 yards from the house is the ruins of the old Presby- 
teria;! Church of Lebanon, rebuilt in 1807, the first built in Ten- 
nessee, whose pastor was the Rev. Samuel Carrick, whose daughter 
married in 1798, the Hon. Hugh L. White, formerly United States 
Senator. The old high backed pew is still to be seen, where Gov. 
Sevier, the first Governor of Tennessee, was wont to sit with his 
friends, Capts. Crosby and Reynolds Ramsey, (the grandfather 
of Dr. Ramsey,) both soldiers in the old revolutionary army, who 
at that day wore powdered hair and cues, with cocked hats, shorts 
and ruffled bosoms and cuffs. 

**In the old chiu*chyard which contains the dust of a generation 
of over a century ago, is the tomb of Elizabeth Carrick, consort 
of the Rev. Samuel Carrick, who died in September, 1793l, at the 
time of the invasion of Knoxville by the Indians. The remains of 
both the grand parents of Dr. Ramsey also lie there, with Capt. 
Gillespie, the celebrated Indian fighter, and the old Indian chief 

"But I must close this already long letter, expecting to write 
you the next time from the old stamping ground of Chattanooga 



In a letter of October 4, 1878, Dr. Ramsey introduces the name 
of Rev. Samuel Carrick who was the first President of Blount Col- 
lege, now University of Tennessee, and who shines like a star in 
early Tennessee history. 

Oct. 4, 1878. 

"Knoxville, Tenn. 
"Dear Sir— 

"The first mortar I ever saw was made of neither bell metal, 
wedge wood, glass, etc., but was sculptured out of the marble 
quarry near one of his chiu-ches by Dr. Carrick, himself, who exer- 
cised the double functions of minister and doctor, not only the 
care of souls, but the cure of the bodies of his parishioners. 
I have his mortar yet, still well preserved, and highly venerated 
for its antiquity and its worthy sculptor. Dr. Carrick was bom 
near your native place, Gettysburg, Pa. I have no doubt the Gil- 
berts and McConaughys, yoiu* ancestors knew him. Again, the 
physician of that day was omnis in hoc. He was siu"geon, ob- 
stetrician, dentist, occuHst and all that. Yes; they were giants 
in their day. The contemporary of Dr. C. was a physician from 
France and had all the high culture of Paris and Naples. The 
successors of these two were eminent for their endowments and 
character, as well as their literary and professional attainments. 
There were then no quacks, and no patent medicines or nostrums. 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennbssbb History 119 

No student aspired to professional life without an extensive coiu-se 
in preparatory studies. 

**The name of Rev. Dr. Carrick was Samuel — occasionally 
Zarino was affixed to it, but not uniformly. I have heard that it 
was so inscribed on his tombstone. I do not know "the name of 
his medical preceptor. He must have left Adams (then York) 
about 1783-9, as he began to preach at the latter date on this fron- 
tier. His wife, I thitJc, was a Miss McDowell, of Rockbridge, 
Va., who died Sept. 1793, the day Knoxville ws threatened with 
an attack by 1000 Indians under "Double-head," a Cherokee 
chieftain. There were only 48 riflemen to resist their invasion, 
so that every man and boy in the settlement was kept under arms 
all day. The remains of Mrs. Carrick were therefore borne to 
the grave yard and interred by women only. Dr. C*s second wife 
was a sister of Col. John McClellan. Dr. C. died of apoplexy in 
1808. His widow some years afterwards, say 1827, removed to 
Missouri. The French physician's name was Fomier, or Phomier 
probably. He went west and I lost sight of him. He was learned 
and convivial, and was believed to be one of the Illuminati and an 

Henry R. Lenoir of Knoxville is a grandson of Dr. Ramsey, 
and the author takes this method of acknowledging his indebted- 
ness to him and to his wife, Mrs. Lenoir, for much of the matter 
contained in this chapter. Old families usually have relics that 
come down from generations long since past, some prized more 
highly than others, and Mr. and Mrs. Lenoir have such, and the 
two they esteem highest, whether epistolary or other kind, are two 
letters written by Andrew Jackson to Dr. Ramsey nearly a century 
ago, and which have crept down the intervening years to their 
possession, to be kept and cherished as almost sacred things. 


"Hermitage, near Nashville, Tenn., 
"June 14, 1823. 
"Dear Sir: 

I have reed, yoiu* friendly letter of the 30th of May last. I 
have seen the pamphlet you allude to in yoiu* letter, but I had 
not the honor of being a member of that patriotic convention which 
met in May 1775 in Mecklenburg, State of North Carolina, and 
declared themselves independent. 

I was then a citizen of South Carolina, adjoining the County 
of Mecklenburg, but too young at that time to participate in the 
deliberations which reflect so much honor on the patriotic pages 
of that day. Mine was an humbler part, what feeble aid I afforded 
in the Revolutionary contest was in the ranks that composed the 
defense of our country and of freedom. 

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120 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

I can afford you no further information on that subject but 
what you have derived from the pamphlet. It would afford pleas- 
ure if I could. 

I am, Sir, with due respect yr 

Mo obt. Servant 

Andrew Jackson. 
"J. G. M. Ramsey, Esqr." 

Hermitage January 15th, 1827. 

"Your favor of the 8th -instant presenting me with a print com- 
memorative of the declaration of the Mecklenburg convention 
is received. 

"I beg you, sir, in rettun for this token of your regard for me, to 
accept my sincere thanks, with this earnest expression of my hopes 
that your patriotic intentions may be crowned with success. That 
Declaration ought not to be lost, nor will not be while there is 
any of our Revolutionary patriots ahve to attest its effects upon 
our Revolution. 

"This print if forwarded to me at Nashville will reach me safely. 
"I am very Respectfully, Sir, your 
mo. obt. Servant, 

Andrew Jackson. 
"Mr. J. G. M. Ramsey, P. M." 

annals of tbnnbssbe. 

He is a very happy man, loved of fate and all the gods at once 
and greatly to be envied, who can write one book and thereby 
start his name travelling down the ages, to tell coming men and 
women that he once lived and loved and labored, and what his 
aspirations were, and what he thought of life and what it meant 
to him; and this was Dr. Ramsey's good fortune in writing his 
annals of Tennessee. It was published at Charleston, South 
Carolina, in 1853 in one volume of 744 pages, but no second edition 
was ever printed. The number of the first edition we do not know. 
The copies now in the United States are necessarily small and 
they command a high premium in sales. We reproduce the very 
stately dedication and part of the dignified preface, and submit 
both to the reader as well worthy of his attentive perusal. The 
book is recognized as authoritative and practically final as to all 
matters of which it treats. 



whose enterprise subdued her domain, and whose valor defended it, 

most gratefully; 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 121 


whose patriotism, wisdom and virtue, provided for and bequeath- 
ed to posterity, the parimonial blessings and wise institutions of 
liberty, of law, of learning and religion, 

mosi duHftdly; 


inheriting so much that is estimable, manly, virtuous and patriotic, 

to whose guardianship, filial piety, ancestral and state pride 

are committed 
the preservation of her tmstained escutcheon, her ancient fame, 
her heroic example, her sovereignty, her character and her glory — 
her high destiny and future improvements — 
mosi confidently, 

**Let no mean hope your souls enslave; 
Be independent, generous, brave; 

Your fathers such example gave. 
And such revere!" 

Is this volume dedicated, by their fellow citizen, 

Charleston, S. C, February 22, 1853." 

**The writer is one of the first-bom of the sons of the State 
of Tennessee. If this seniority brings with it none of the rights 
of primogeniture, it certainly has imposed the duty of filial venera- 
tion and regard for the land of his nativity. With this devotion to 
his State, and to its worthy pioneers, has always been xmited the 
deep regret, that their early history has been so little known, and 
is now almost forgotten. Oppressed by this feeling, and impelled 
by the desire to revive and preserve the knowledge of past events 
in Tennessee, he determined, many years since, to collect such 
incidents of her history as were within his reach. At first, his 
object was merely to occupy, in these researches, the leisiu*e hoiu^ 
which could be spared from professional engagements; but he 
soon discovered, that by extending his labours, he might add to 
his own pleasure, the high gratification of contributing something, 
however humble, to the historical literature of the day, and thus 
do a service, at least, to the people of his own State. 

"For the collection of the materials of such work, he has had 
some peculiar facilities. His boyhood and his youth were spent 
with the pioneer and the emigrant. Later in life, he has not been 
without some share of intercourse, with the public men and princi- 
pal actors in the early settlement of the country. His opportunity 
of conferring with many of them, has not been infrequent, and has 

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122 Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 

been sedulously improved. He became, whilst yet a young man, 
the possessor of the journal and papers of his deceased father, 
the late Col. F. A. Ramsey, a pioneer of the country, whose life 
was identified with its interests, at every period of its growth, up 
to the time of his death, in 1820. He has since become the de- 
positary of the papers of Sevier, of Shelby, the Blounts, and other 
public men. His position as Corresponding Secretary of the East 
Tennessee Historical and Antiquarian Society, has given him the 
advantage of its collections and correspondence. In addition 
to these sources of valuable information, he has availed himself 
of others. The records of all the old Franklin Counties have been 
patiently examined by him. He has also visited the Capitals of 
Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, and, by the courtesy of 
Governor Towns, Governor Reed, and Governor Floyd, of these 
States, has been allowed free access to the Public Archives at 
Milledgeville, Raleigh, and Richmond, from which has been pro- 
cured, all that they contain on the subjects of his research. The 
Archives of Tennessee, preserved in the office of the Secretary 
of State of Nashville, he has also examined. Private and public 
libraries, the offices at Washington, and the periodical journals 
of the day, all sources, within the writer's reach, likely to contri- 
bute to his purpose, and add to the perfection of his work, have 
been carefully examined and culled from.*' 

*' Conscious, as he is, of the imperfections of his performance, 
the writer persuades himself that he has rendered some acceptable 
service to Tennessee, in his attempt thus to perpetuate her Annals 
and illustrate the actions of her people. Consoled with this re- 
flection, he confides it to his coimtrymen." 

-*'Si quid novisti rectius istis Candidus imperti; 

si non, his utere mecum. 

J. G. M. Ramsey. 

"Mecklenburg, near Elnoxville, Tenn., Nov. 16, 1852." 

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AS con, l: 

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Founder of Mmnpliit and Jackson's lifo-long f.lond. 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 123 

^ ■ "■"■" ■ "■"■"■"■'K 



When Hernando De Soto discovered the Mississippi River from 
the Chickasaw Biuflfs in May, 1541, he was doubtless the first white 
man that ever set his foot in what later became the City of Mem- 
phis. It is a far cry from that distant day more than three centur- 
ies and a half ago, and from that primeval wilderness along side 
of that fearful rolling flood, to the year 1920, when the great 
and splendid modem City of Memphis, with 150,000 popula- 
tion, now sits like a queen, with every grace and charm of 
beauty, on the spot where the intrepid Spaniard first viewed the 
lordly Father of Waters; and what a father of Waters the Mississ- 
ippi is, with a length of 2,896 miles and tributaries aggregating 
28,965 miles, making 31,861 miles of rivers which it empties into 
the .Gulf of Mexico. De Soto crossed the river on a raft, and 
plunged into the wilderness on its western shore, and made his way 
to the highlands of White River, wandering about for a year, 
marching through forests and swamps and canebrakes. He finally 
came back to the Mississippi again with his band of explorers to 
what is known as Chicot, Arkansas, and here he died and was 
buried; but subsequently the body was taken up and found its 
final grave in the bosom of the "River of the Holy Ghost,'* which 
he named the Mississippi, and which still, says Bancroft, **rolls 
its magnificent current over the place of his burial, a fitting mon- 
ument for his remains, as it is for his renown.'* His soldiers finally 
found their way back to Cuba. De Soto's expedition had been a 
failure; no gold was discovered nor the Fountain of Youth. His 
march indicated a want of design, and a wandering about and a 
"lack of apparent objectiveness, which may be explained upon the 
theory of a man searching for something which he thinks is as 
liable to be found in one place or section as another. He died with 
the El Dorado still a figment of his brain. He did not spare his 
army, and there was no military character to his method of explor- 

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124 Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 

ation. He had attained fame in Peru, and, while his quest in 
North America was a failure, he gained an immortality more last- 
ing than the fame attained in Peru, by his discovery of the Mississ- 
ippi River. His name and that of the great inland sea will be 
linked together as long as the great river rolls its waters towards 
the Gulf. 

Memphis is located 454 miles from St. Louis, and 818 miles 
from New Orleans, and is the largest city in Tennessee, and, with a 
few exceptions, the largest on the Mississippi River. It owes its 
origin to John Overton, who was its foimder, and who, if he had no 
other title to fame, his place in history would be seciu-e. The man 
who fotmds a city, and especially such a city as Memphis has be- 
come, will be known and admired and eulogized as long as time 

On April 25, 1789, John Rice, then a citizen of North Carolina, 
owned a grant in the land office of Hillsboro, North Carolina, it 
then being commonly known and called **Jo^ Armstrong's office," 
for 5,000 acres of land, beginning about one mile below the mouth 
of Wolf River on the Chickasaw Bluffs, on one of which Memphis 
now stands. The land was siu^eyed on December 1st, 1786. In 
order that this generation may peruse the document upon which 
millions and millions of dollars of property is based in Memphis, 
we quote the grant in full: 


"3tate of North Carolina. No. 283. 

**To all to whom these presents shall come. Greeting: 

**Know ye, that we, for and in consideration of the sum of ten 
potmds for every hundred acres hereby granted, paid into our 
treasiuy by John Rice, have given and granted, and by these pres- 
ents do give and grant unto the said John Rice, a tract of land 
containing five thousand acres, l)dng and being in the Western 
District, lying on the Chickasaw Bluff. Beginning about one mile 
below the mouth of Wolf River, at a whiteoak tree, marked J. R., 
running North twenty degrees, east two hundred and twenty-six 
poles; thence due North one hundred and thirty-three poles; thence 
North twenty-seven degrees, West three hundred and ten poles to 
a cotton wood tree; thence due east one thousand three hundred 
and seventy-seven and nine-tenths poles to a mulberry tree; thence 
South six hundred and twenty-five poles to a stake, thence West 
one thousand three hundred and foiu* and nine-tenths poles to the 
beginning, as by the plat hereunto annexed doth appear, together 
with all wood, waters, mines, minerals, hereditaments and appur- 
tenances to the said land belonging or pertaining; to hold to the 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 125 

said John Rice, his heirs and assigns forever — yielding and pajdng 
to us such sums of money yearly, or otherwise as oiu* General As- 
sembly from time to time shall cause. This grant to be registered 
in the Register's Office of oiu- said Western District within twelve 
months from the date hereof; otherwise the same shall be void and 
of no effect. 

In testimony whereof, we have caused these our letters to be 
made patent, and our great seal to be hereunto affixed. Witness 
Samuel Johnson, Esquire, our Governor, Captain General and 
Commander in Chief, at Halifax, the twenty-fifth day of April, in 
the XIII year of our Independence, and of our lord one thousand 
seven hundred and eighty -nine. 

By his Excellency's command. SAM JOHNSON. 

J. Glasgow, Secretary. 

State of North Carolina, 
Western District. 

By virtue of a warrant from the State Entry Taker, No. 382, 
dated the twenty-fourth day of June, one thousand seven hun- 
dred and eighty-four, I have surveyed for John Rice five thous- 
and acres of land, lying on the Chickasaw Bluff; beginning about 
one mile below the mouth of Wolf River, at a whiteoak tree, marked 
J. R. Running North twenty degrees. East two hundred and 
twenty-six poles; thence due North one hundred and thirty-three 
poles; thence North twenty-seven degrees, West three hundred 
and ten poles to a cotton wood tree; thence due East one thousand 
three hundred and seventy-seven and nine-tenths poles to a mul- 
berry tree; thence SoutJi six hundred and twenty-five poles to a 
stake; thence West one thousand three hundred and four and nine- 
tenths poles to the beginning. 

Surveyed December 1st, 1786. 


But there was another grant for 5,000 acres of land known as 
the *'John Ramsey Grant", which began at the Southwest comer 
of John Rice's Grant. The battle between these two grants in 
Memphis was long and hard fought and uncertain, but was finally 
settled. This grant also is given in full. 


No. 19,060. Recorded May 10th, 1823. 

The State of Tennessee. 
To all to whom these presents shall come — Greeting: 

Know ye that in consideration of Warrant No. 383, dated the 
24th day of Jime, 1784, issued by John Armstrong, Entry OflScer 
of Claims for the North Carolina Western lands, to John Ramsey, 
for five thousand acres, and entered on the 25th day of October, 
1783: by No. 383, there is granted by the State of Tennessee, unto 
the said John Ramsey and John Overton, assignee, etc., a certain 
tract or parcel of land, containing five thousand acres by siurey, 

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126 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

bearing date the first day of March, 1822, lying in Shelby County, 
eleventh District, ranges eight and nine, sections one and two, on 
the Mississippi River, of which to said Ramsey four thousand two 
hundred and eighty-five and five-sevenths acres, and to said Overton 
seven hundred and fourteen and two-sevenths, acres, and bounded 
as follows, to-wit: Beginning at a stake on the bank of said 
river — southwest comer of John Rice''s five thousand acres grant, 
as processioned by William Lawrence in the year 1820 — running 
thence south eighty-five degrees, east, with said Rice's south 
boundary line, as processioned aforesaid, one hundred and seventy- 
five chains to a poplar marked R; thence South 200 chains to an 
elm marked F. R.; thence West, at sixty-two chains, crossing a 
branch bearing south, at seventy chains crossing a branch bearing 
southwest, at one hundred and nineteen chains crossing a branch 
bearing south, and at one hundred and sixty chains a branch bear- 
ing south — in all two hundred and seventy-three chains to a cotton 
wood marked F. R. on the bank of the Mississippi River, thence 
up the margin of said river, with its meanders, north seven degrees, 
east eleven chains. North one degree East five chains and thirty- 
five links. North ten and a half chains, North eight degrees. East 
fourteen chains. North twenty-two degrees. East eleven chains and 
sixty-three links, north eighty-six degrees, east four chains and 
sixty-three links, north twenty-nine degrees, east seven chains and 
ten links, north four degrees, west three chains and twenty-seven 
links, north five degrees, east six chains, north ten degrees, east 
three chains north thirty-one, east sixteen chains, north four de- 
grees, east thirteen chaiAs and seventy links, north fourteen 
degrees, east thirteen chains and nineteen links, north twenty- 
six east thirteen chains and eight links, north forty-three, east 
seven and one-half chains, north thirty, east twenty-two chains and 
thirty-eight links, north forty, east one chain and eight links, north 
fifty-three, east one chain and twenty-four links, north forty-nine, 
east three chains, north thirty-three, east five chains and eighty 
links, north forty-seven, east seventeen chains, north thirty-six, 
east four chains and thirty-four links, north forty-nine degrees, east 
six chains and fifty-seven links, north thirty-nine degrees, east 
thirty-three and one-half chains; thence north thirty-six degrees, 
east twelve and one-half chains to the beginning, with the hered- 
itaments and appurtenances : 

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, the said tract or parcel of land, 
with its appmlenances, to the said John Ramsey and John Over- 
ton and their heirs forever. 

In witness whereof, William Carroll, Governor of the State of 
Tennessee, hath heretmto set his hand and caused the great seal 
of the State to be affixed, at Murfreesboro, on the thirtieth day of 
April, in the year of our Lord, 1823, and of the Independence of 
the United States the forty-seventh. 

By the Governor. WILLIAM CARROLL. 

Daniel Graham, Secretary. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 127 

John Rice moved from North Carolina to Tennessee and en- 
gaged in his business of trading, and he was finally killed by the 
Indians in 1791. He left a will conveying the Rice Grant to his 
brother, Elisha Rice. The will was in his own handwriting, but 
without witnesses. 

John Overton bought the Rice Grant for $500.00 from Elisha 
Rice, May 24, 1794, and to make certain that he was getting a 
good title, he took a quit-claim deed from all the brothers of John 
Rice, four in number, who would inherit from him in case of his 
death without will. By the law of North Carolina at that time, 
brothers inherited to the exclusion of sisters. Overton at once 
conveyed an undivided half interest in the grant to General An- 
drew Jackson, and the presumption is that the original purchase 
was made both for Jackson and himself. General Jackson at dif- 
ferent times sold three-eighths of his one-half interest, and the title 
finally settled down thus: Judge Overton one-half; William Win- 
chester one-eighth ; General Jackson one-eighth, and General James 
Winchester one-fourth, one-half his own property, and the other 
half as trustee for a deceased brot&er. Later General Jackson sold 
his remaining one-eighth to John C. McLemore, who married a 
neice of Mrs. Jackson. The town was laid off into lots with streets, 
parks and public squares, in the early part of 1819, but the sale of 
lots was not very encouraging. The owners were liberal and far- 
seeing in the parts set aside for public use, comfort and 

On April 20th, 1829, the following proceedings were had in the 
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Shelby County: 

petition for division. 

**To the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, for the County of 
Shelby, in the State of Tennessee, sitting at their April Session, 

"We, the undersigned, respectfully represent to yoiu* Worships 
that we hold different undivided interests in sundry tmsold lots in 
the town of Memphis, and in a tract of twelve hundred acres. We 
pray the Court to appoint the lawful number of Commissioners to 
divide the said town lots, and the said land, between us agreeably 
to a plat of the same that will be exhibited to the Commissioners 
by our agents, according to law, our respective interests in said 
property being as follows, viz : John Overton owns one-half; John 
McLemore owns one-eighth; the heirs of General James Winches- 
ter own one-foiuth; and the devisees of Wm. Winchester, of Balti- 

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128 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbe History 

more, own one-eighth; and your petitioners, as in duty bound, will 
ever pray, etc. April 20th, 1829. (Signed) 

By their attorney in fact, Wm. Lawrence. 

By their attorney in fact, M. B. Winchester." 

On Monday, 20th July, 1829, the Commissioners, who had been 
appointed by the Court to divide and set apart the interest of the 
respective owners in severalty, having reported, and their rei>ort 
having been ratified by the Court, the Court decreed that John 
Overton owned a one-half interest; John McLemore one-eighth in- 
terest; William Winchester, and George Winchester, as the de- 
visees of William Winchester, deceased, one-eighth interest, and the 
estate of General James Winchester two-eighths. 

It was the eastern part of the 5,000 acres of the Rice Grant that 
was laid off into lots; and the town was named "Memphis" by 
General James Winchester. 

In the "Portfolio," published in Philadelphia, 1820, there is a 
well written advertisement of the prospects of the new town, and 
every feature that could attract purchasers and settlers was very 
persuasively set forth. The authorship of this advertisement is 
attributed to General Jackson. 

Memphis was incorporated in 1826, but the election for mimic- 
ipal officers did not occur tmtil 1827, in which year the original 
charter was amended by the legislature. The corporate law of the 
new municipality began in March, 1827, and Marcus B. Winches- 
ter was the first mayor. Mayor Winchester was bom in Sumner 
County, Tennessee, and educated in Maryland. He entered the 
army in 1812, serving on his father's stafi", and was taken and held 
a prisoner in Quebec for nearly a year. Later on, he served with 
his father at New Orleans; and finally, in 1815, came to Memphis 
and entered into business with A. B. Carr, and the firm became the 
rival in business of Isaac Rawlings, who succeeded Winchester as 
Mayor of Memphis, after the latter had served two years in that 
position. Mayor Winchester is credited with having made a good 
mayor, and he seems to have had the unlimited confidence of every- 
body. He served in the army with the rank of Major. Curiously 
enough, he contracted the first miscegenation marriage, and as far 
as history shows, the last, ever in Tennessee. The facts in this 
strange episode in Mayor Winchester's life are related by James 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 129 

D. Davis in his "Ear^y History of Memphis," published in 1873, 
at which time Davis was one of the oldest citizens in Memphis, and 
could write of men and events connected with the founding of 
Memphis and its early days, from personal knowledge. 

Davis tells the story as follows: *'CoL Thomas H. Benton, 
who afterward distinguished himself as the veteran United States 
Senator from Missouri, and who commanded a regiment under 
Jackson at New Orleans, brought with him on his return a beauti- 
ful I^rench quadroon girl, with whom he lived some two or three 
years, when, in view, perhaps, of his future greatness, he concluded 
to turn her adrift and get married. He did so but not without 
providing liberally for her, giving her property and money, which 
was p^ced in Winchester's hands for safe-keeping. This brought 
those attractive persons together, and the consequence was a great 
error, but Winchester could not think of remedying it in the way 
Benton had done. He concluded to pursue the opposite course, 
and therefore took **Mary'* to Louisiana, where the laws permitted 
intermarriage of the races, and there formally married her. If 
Winchester thought that this act would modify the asperity of 
popular feeling against him, he was greatly mistaken, for it in- 
creased in virulency tenfold. . . . Poor Mary tried, by acts 
of charity, liberal donations to religious purposes, exemplary and 
unobtrusive deportment and all other conceivable means to allay 
the intense hatred, but it only had the effect to increase, if possible, 
its vindictiveness." 

Davis first published this statement of Mayor Winchester's 
marriage in the Memphis Appeal, in 1873, and that paper in the 
same issue made the following comment: 

"In another place we publish an inimitable story, written by 
one of the oldest citizens of Memphis. The narrative is distin- 
guished by its naive simplicity and truthfulness. It tells of facts 
which every old citizen was cognizant, and of prejudices that lost 
their force long before Mayor Winchester died. He came here 
before a social system existed, and when people's prejudices against 
Creoles were incorrigible. It was in 1851 or '52 that Mayor Win- 
chester, for the last time, appeared before the people. A staunch 
Democrat, he defeated for the Legislature in this County, in which 
the Whig party was dominant, a gentleman as courtly and polished 
and as worthy a citizen as himself. This competitor of Major 
Winchester was Col. John Pope. There was never a member of 
any community more esteemed while he lived, or more honored at 
his death, than Major Marcus B. Winchester, the most graceful, 
courtly, elegant gentleman that ever appeared upon Main Street, 
and the *dress proclaimed the man.' " 


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130 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

The Tennessee Legislature of 1822, in all probability in conse- 
quence of this marriage, passed an act prohibiting such alliances 
in these words: 

**The intermarriage of white persons with negroes, mulattoes, 
or persons with mixed blood descended from a negro to the third 
generation, inclusive, or their living together as man and wife in 
this State, is hereby prohibited. * ' 

At the time of Mayor Winchester's marriage, such an alliance 
was permissible at New Orleans, and there was no statute in Tenn- 
essee against it, and nothing in the State's Constitution of 1796, 
nor in the Constitution of 1834, but the State's third Constitution, 
that of 1870, contained a provision in the exact words of the statute 
of 1822. 

There is no evidence that John Rice, the first owner of the site 
of Memphis, ever visited the Chickasaw Bluffs, but Col. J. M. 
Keating, for many years editor of the Memphis Appeal, in his great 
and authoritative History of Memphis, says that it is more than 
likely that he did, as he was a trader who perhaps made trips to 
Natchez, as Andrew Jackson and General Wilkinson did, a few 
years later. 

While there were others interested in the proposed town, John 
Overton is really due the credit for making Memphis a city, and 
but for him the town that had such a struggle for existence for a 
number of reasons, would have probably disappeared from the map 
of the State. 

The faith of Overton never wavered, and there is no evi- 
dence that any one of the original purchasers of the site ever got 
discouraged or pulled back. This was a faith that could move 
motmtains; it was a faith that actually did build, ultimately, a 
great city. That imagination was limitless that could at that day 
look forward and see located upon the Chickasaw Bluffs a dty of 
wealth and splendor. 

J. J. Rawlings, a relative of Mayor Isaac Rawlings, says: 

* 'Memphis had a hard struggle for its existence that but few of 
its present population know of; for years after the first attempt of 
its people to make a town, it was antagonized by several neighbor- 
ing villages which thought their chances for becoming a city much 
superior. Randolph, a town five miles above, on the Mississippi 
River, was its main rival, and it succeeded in getting largely the 
advantage of Memphis in trade. Randolph was backed by a large 
portion of our own cotmty. The settlement on Big Creek, the 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 131 

most populous and wealthy settlement in Shelby Cotmty, did most 
of its business with Randolph for several years; in fact, the people 
of that section of the Coimty had stronger inducements for trading 
at Randolph than at Memphis. They were equally as near Ran- 
dolph, and had better roads, imobstructed by small tmbridged 
streams. When they came to Memphis they had to come by water. 
They came down Big Creek and Wolf River in boats, canoes, skiffs 
and small flat boats, loaded in a supply suflScient for five or six 
months, and carried it back in boats. Randolph began to boast 
of the advantages it had obtained over Memphis in a business way, 
and threatened to wipe her off the map of Tennessee; it really 
thought its chances for a town were much superior to those of 
Memphis, and that Memphis would finally go down.*' 

But Randolph was not the only rival of Memphis; there was- 
Fort Pickering and South Memphis, but they were all finally an- 
nexed or wiped out. 

Memphis had in 1819 a population of 53; in 1827, 500; and in 
1830, 663; the United States Census shows that Shelby County 
had in 1820 a population of 364; in 1830, 5,648; and in 1840, 14,721. 

The first bank organized in Memphis was the Farmers* and 
Merchants* Bank, chartered in 1833, of which Mayor M. W. Win- 
chester was one of its early Presidents. 

The first epidemic of yellow fever was in 1828. 

The first cotton planted in Tennessee was by Col. John Donel- 
son, who, in 1780, planted a half acre on his farm on Stone's River. 

The first steamboat that ever went by Memphis on the Miss- 
issippi River was the steamer *'New Orleans**, built at Pittsburg, 
116 feet long, 20 feet wide and the engine a 34-inch cylinder, and 
the boiler of adequate proportions. This steamer was the first 
boat to carry cotton on the Mississippi, which was loaded at 
Natchez on the maiden trip of the vessel, and shipped to New 

But, while Overton and Jackson had bought the Rice Grant 
and were thus the owners of the site of the City of Memphis, the 
Chickasaw Indians were to be reckoned with, who claimed title to 
all that part of Tennessee between the Tennessee River and the 
Mississippi, one of the richest portions of the globe for agricultural 
purposes. It is curious that the Chickasaws did not occupy this 
fertile section, although they claimed title to it, but they used it 
only as a htmting ground. 

Ramsey in his * 'Annals of Tennessee,*' says: "Vague and un- 
certain claims to several portions of the territory were asserted by 

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132 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 

as many several tribes, but no part of the present Tennessee was 
held by the actual and pennanent occupancy of the Indians, ex- 
cept that Section embraced by the segment of a circle of which the 
Tennessee River is the periphery, from the point where it intersects 
the North Carolina li|ie to that where this stream enters the State 
of Alabama. This was settled by the Cherokees. All of Tennes- 
see, beside this, was uninhabited, though a portion of it was claimed 
or occupied as hunting grotmds by the Shawnees, Chickasiaws, 
Choctaws, and the Cherokees.** 

But whether the claim of the Chickasaws was valid or not, they 
made it and had made it long before Memphis was founded, and 
in order that their claim might be wiped out in a manner that 
would leave no question. President James Monroe commissioned 
General Jackson and Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, to ne- 
gotiate a treaty with the Chickasaws for the extinguishment of 
thej^ title to all of the lands claimed by them in Tennessee and 
Kentucky west of the Tennessee River. General Jackson had just 
retiuned from Florida, and on October 30, 1818, he wrote to Judge 
Campbell that he was **so weak as to be imable to hold a pen for 
some time after my arrival at the treaty ground. We arrived here 
on the 29th, and found everything wrong; an agent unacquainted 
with the Indians, the geography of the country, or even what were 
the wishes of the government, and not one-half of the Nation 
notified of the place of meeting." Delay was had in order to col- 
lect the Indians together. Finally the negotiations began, and 
naturally offers and counter-ofiFers were made and considered, but 
finally an agreement was reached by which the Chickasaws were 
to receive $20,000.00 in cash each year for fifteen years; also, some 
specific sums to certain individuals, and some reservations to cer- 
tain members of the Chickasaws, and some annual siuns to the 
chiefs of the tribe. The treaty was signed October 19, 1818. In 
1833 the Chickasaws sold all of their remaining land in Mississippi, 
6,442,400 acres, for $3,646,000.00. After the cession of their lands, 
under the guidance of government agents, they removed to the 
Indian Territory. 

In January, 1819, the cession of West Tennessee by the Chick- 
asaws was ratified by Congress. 

Shelby County was organized on May 1st, 1820, and at that 
time embraced what is now known as Fayette and Tipton Coun- 
ties. Russell Bean, the first white child bom in Tennessee, was 
elected patrolman of the County, and he disappears from history 
from that time forward. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 133 

This generation of readers knows a great deal about Andrew 
Jackson, and something about John Overton, but practically noth- 
ing about the Winchesters, who were among the original owners of 
Memphis, and John C. McLemore, who bought Andrew Jackson's 
remaining one-eighth interest. 

General James Winchester was a Revolutionary soldier and an 
oflScer in the War of 1812. He was bom in Carroll County, Mary- 
land, February, 1755, and entered the army in 1776. He rendered 
valiant service in the Revolutionary War, and was taken prisoner, 
and exchanged after a year's confinement in an English prison ship. 
He rendered service and was present at a number of the most im- 
portant battles of the Revolutionary War, and at the siurender of 
Comwallis. After the close of the Revolutionary War, he settled 
in Sumner County, Middle Tennessee, and was elected speaker 
of the first Senate of the State. In 1812, he entered the service of 
his country again, as a Brigadier-General, and joined Andrew Jack- 
son, who was then in command at Mobile, only a short time before 
the Battle of New Orleans, in which battle he fought, and after 
which he resigned his commission and went to his farm in Sumner 
Coimty, where he died, July 26, 1826. It was through General 
James Winchester that William and George Winchester, his broth- 
ers, procured their interests in the original site of Memphis from 
Andrew Jackson. 

Oiu- interest in John C. McLemore is accentuated by reason of 
the fact that he was a nephew, by marriage, of Andrew Jackson, 
having married a niece of Mrs. Jackson, John C. McLemore was 
bom in North Carolina, and came to Nashville in 1806. He was 
a land surveyor by profession, and a life-long friend, supporter and 
adviser of Andrew Jackson. His wife was a daughter of Col. John 
Donelson; he died in 1864, leaving behind him the record of a long, 
honorable and useful life. 

The limits of this book confine us to matters during the life of 
Andrew Jackson, who died in 1845, up to which time the history 
of Memphis was the history of every other small pioneer town, em- 
phasized, however, in its early days by a citizenship that included 
a good many bad man, such as are to be expected in every river 
town in pioneer days. Memphis had her full share of troubles of 
this kind, but finally conquered her outlaws. 

This sketch of Memphis, therefore, is necessarily a sketch of its 
pioneer days, but would not be complete did we not say something 
about **01d Ike*' Rawlings, one of the strongest and most virile 

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134 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 

characters in the history of the State. There were three business 
houses in Memphis at that early date, Winchester and Carr, Hen- 
derson and Fern, and Isaac Rawlings, and the rivalry was intense 
between Isaac Rawlings, **01d Ike," and Winchester and Carr, 
Winchester being Marcus R. Winchester, the first Mayor of Mem- 
phis, one time postmaster and president of the first bank organized 
in the city. Phelan, who was a member of congress from the 
Memphis District, and published his "History of Tennessee" in 
1888, pays *'01d Ike" this tribute: 

*'This singular and almost grotesque figure made one of the 
best mayors who ever presided over Memphis, from M. R. Win- 
chester to D. P. Hatton. He was long known as the model mayor. 
Rawlings was vain, stubborn, sdf-willed, imperious, impatient of 
contradiction, conservative to a fault. But he was also honest, 
dear-minded, law-abiding, determined to be obeyed, and econom- 
ical; he took the duties of his position in earnest, and rigorously 
enforced the law, preserved order, looked after the disbursement 
of the public funds with scrupulous care and was remarkably ener- 

He was elected mayor of Memphis three times, and was a can- 
didate to represent Shelby County in the Constitutional Conven- 
tion of 1834, but was defeated, as he was a Whig. He was carried 
in an easy chair to cast his vote for Harrison and Tyler, and when 
the news came that they were elected he said, **Now, I can die 
happy," and died soon thereafter. 

Davis, in his "Early History of Memphis," says: "To say that 
Isaac Rawlings made a good mayor would be but an indifferent 
compliment; he superintended all of the work, and paid out the 
money as though it was coming from his own pocket." And this 
is probably the greatest tribute that Davis could have paid him. 
In this good year of 1920, every intelligent American knows that 
it is in municipal government that the people of the United States 
have proven themselves a failiu-e. Oiu- Federal Government is the 
wonderful success of all ages; our State governments have been 
condticted, as a rule, wisely and fairly economically; oi^r county 
governments are controlled largely by farmers who have evinced 
conservatism in the handling of public money under their control; 
but it is in the city governments where the most corrupt and 
audacious influences and conduct have been exhibited, and which 
have loaded American mimicipalities down with himdreds of mil- 
lions of bonded debts that they will never pay while time lasts. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 135 

The worst exhibition of American character has been in the gov- 
ernment of cities. Fraud, graft, thieving, double-dealing, trickery, 
every species of dishonesty, treachery and perjivy, are all exhibited 
in municipal government. American cities are accustomed to get 
probably fifty to seventy-five per cent in actual value for the moliey 
that they spend. Municipal officers do not treat public money 
with anything even approximating the care in its expenditure that 
they treat their own. It may be that human natiure is built that 
way and that they cannot help it, but we hope not. And so it is 
that when Davis says that "Old Ike" Rawlings paid out the money 
of the struggling mimicipality of Memphis as if it were his own, he 
puts "Old Ike" on an elevation upon which very few public oiBScials 
in America deserve to stand. If, by recalling "Old Ike's'* record 
the author can incite any public ofiicial whatever to more conscien- 
tious handling of public money, he will feel that by this one service 
alone this book has not been written in vain. 

As something of a counterpart of "Old Ike", the opportunity 
is here afforded to say that Colonel John S. VanGilder, who was 
elected Mayor of the City of Knoxville three times, and held that 
oflSce in 1870, 1871 and 1872, deserved the same great tribute paid 
by Davis to "Old Ike." Colonel VanGilder, while he was mayor, 
handled and paid out the money of the City of Knoxville and other- 
wise conserved the city's interests with the same care and business 
efficiency that he did his own, which in a long, active, business life 
in Knoxville, achieved for him the highest standing as a banker, 
public official, business man and gentleman. 

Virtues like those of "Old Ike" are rare at this day, and his 
crowning virtue of official fidelity and perfect honor, make a 
great object lesson for the City of Memphis. Memphis would 
honor itself, and confer valuable instruction upon its voting popu- 
lation, and instill a grand lesson into the minds of its school diil- 
dren, if its citizenship, in some prominent place in the city, would 
erect a montunent to "Old Ike" and inscribe upon it words 
indicating that official honor and integrity were the guides of his 
life, and that his record was one the modem city was proud of, and 
wanted its citizens to emulate and follow. Abstract moral lessons 
are all well enough; academic teaching of official honesty and iur 
tegrity amount to something; but the wety by which mankind is 
most deeply impressed with the beauty and nobility of correct 
principles is by seeing them carried out in the life of some citizen 
who has held public position. We repeat, Memphis would honor 

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136 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

itself and elevate its citizenship by making **01d Ike" the exemplar 
of personal and official fidelity in the city's public affairs. 

A like hint might be given to the City of Knoxville, the metrop- 
olis of East Tennessee, and the strong, great character of John S. 
VanGilder might be held up to this and all other generations of 
Knoxville citizens as a type of man worthy of being cited as an 
example to the municipality. Knoxville's record, here and there, 
has been marked with things John S. VanGilder never would have 
done or tolerated in others. He is a shining example of fidelity to 
the city in the spending of its money, as also, of those old-fashioned 
virtues which constitute the foundation of himian character: integ- 
rity, lack of dissimulation, truth, candor, kindliness and a regard 
for the rights of others. Colonel VanGilder was an old-fashioned 
man who narrowly missed being a great man. He exem- 
plified his old-fashioned virtues in all of his actions as mayor 
of Knoxville; and, as in the case of Memphis and "Old Ike," if the 
citizens of Knoxville, irrespective of politics, class, wealth or color, 
would erect a monument to John S. VanGilder as a typical repre- 
sentative of the virtues that a mayor ought to possess, they would 
do themselves an honor, and would inaugurate a current of thought 
upon the subject of official fidelity that would work out vastly to 
the benefit of the mimicipality. 

Davis tells a story that will interest and appeal to millions 
of American people in reference to Abraham Lincoln. He says 
that in the summer of 1831, an up-bound steamer on the Missis- 
sippi River stopped at Wappanocha, on the opposite side of the 
river from Memphis, to replenish its stock of wood. A young 
man who was a passenger left the steamer and went ashore. 
He asked Colonel Furgason, a surveyor, for work, saying that he 
had been to New Orleans on a flat boat, and while retiuning had 
the misfortune to be robbed of all his money. 

Colonel Furgason gave him a job of cutting cord wood, at 
which he worked until he had a sum that was sufficient to carry 
him back to Illinois, where his home was. During this period 
he was an inmate of the Colonel*s house. It was just thirty 
years later that the young man who cut the cord wood was elected 
President of the United States. 

It is hardly necessary to point the moral of the story. It is 
simple and patent and of immense power. American life some- 
times leads from the flat-boat to the Presidency; at other times it 

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Andr]5w Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 137 

leads, as in the case of Aaron Burr, from the Vice-Presidency to 
going down to death in poverty in New York City. 


The nine letters following are from John Overton to Gen. 
James Winchester in reference to the foimding and infant days 
of Memphis. 

"Nashville, 25th October, 1818. 
"Dear Genl. 

"You will see an official account from Genl. Jackson pubUshed 
in the Whig that he had made a Treaty with the Chickasaws 
and purchased all their claims to land lying within the States of 
Tennessee and Kentucky. So that the claim to our tracts at the 
Bluflf is also extinguished, and Marcus is there long before this. 
He has fine weather to explore our land there and will bring us an 
accurate description of the Bluflf tract. If the balance of the 
Bluff tract is not purchased by Cage before this time, it never 
will by us, as the price of course will be too high. 

"If Cage does not purchase, you must take the earliest meas- 
ures to prociu-e the consent of Wm. Winchester's heirs to the 
la)dng off a town, which consent must be given from under hand 
'& seal, constituting some person as attorney with power to ap- 
point attorneys under their authority to act in the business. So 
soon as you learn from Cage that no purchase is made, write to 
yoiw relations that such a coiu^e will be necessary; it will prepare 
them for the measitfe and some person will go on from us to get 
the necessary authority to act in due time, hereafter. 

"But we must proceed to lay off a town by this time 12 months. 
I suspect (if) the Country settles as fast as I think it will, we 
must not let the owners of property on the Bluffs of the Missis- 
sippi above us be beforehand in laying off towns, as it might damp 
the sale of ours. 

Resply yours, Jno. Overton. 

"P. S. In the yam sent to me by the Factory there was a 
deficiency of 6^ cwts. J. O.*' 


"Dec. 1818. 

"Dear Sir: 

"Genl. Jackson and myself purchased the Chickasaw Bluff 
tract about the year 1796. I have retained my part of it ever 
since. I never knew and in what manner the Genl. disposed of 
his part. Latterly I have inquired of him, and he tells me that 
he never made Saml Donelson a deed as he believes, as said 
Donelson was in debt to him, nor did he ever make any contract 
to that effect, that he recollects. Hence it seems clear that you 
and the heirs of your Brother William have only one eighth of 

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138 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

the interest in the Chickasaw Bluff tract of 5000 acres, that I 
own one-half of which there is no dispute, that you and the heirs 
of your brother William have only an eighth of the interest in 
the Chickasaw Bluff tract of 5000 acres — that I own one-half, 
of which there is no dispute — that you and the heirs of William 
Winchester, each an eighth part & Jackson a fourth (sic — ob- 
viously an inadvertent repetition). 

"It is very important that something should be done as quick 
as possible, in relation to the laying off a town at the Bluff as 
towns are now the fashion, and other sites above may come in 
competition with it. 

**I would therefore recommend, that you immediately apprize 
yoiu- relations, the heirs of Mr. William Winchester of the im- 
portance of uniting oiu* views, that they will constitute an agent 
here to act for them, making provision for the death of such agent, 
so that the piu-chasers of lots may not be injured or subject to 
injury. They should give a power of attorney, authorizing 
A. B. to unite in making deeds for town lots, that death as to 
(any) of the heirs shall not annul the power; and (in) case of the 
death of the said A. B. then (?) shall succeed; and in case of his 
death C. D. shall succeed, and have all the powers and authorities 
of the said A. B. the attorney, originally appointed. In this way, 
no injury will arise to purchasers of lots by the death of any of 
those interested in the land, which so frequently produces injury, 
and discotu-ages purchasing town lots. (The) rest of the pro- 
prietors, viz: vest similar powers in the same person or persons, 
to make deeds in case of death. 

**I beg that you will communicate these things to the heirs 
of William Winchester as quick as possible, if they do not think 
proper to join in laying off the town, we will apply to the Court 
and get a partition made, setting aside the (ir) part to itself; 
and Winchester, Jackson and Overton will proceed to lay off a 
town on the part laid off, and set apart to them. This not being 
the interest of the heirs of Wm. Winchester, I expect they will 
unite with us, and send out the necessary papers to lay off said 
town, constituting an agent, (or) agents, in case of death,* and 
with a provision (ex) pressly that death in any of the parties 
conce (med) shall not annul said power. 
**I am resply. 

Your mobs. 
"Genl. Winchester. Jno. Overton." 


**Nashville, June 12th, 1822. 
'•Dear Genl. 

'*I suspect there will be a strong effort made to take the 
Court house from the Bluff. It is the unceasing object of my 
attention. McLemore I hope will take the place of Jackson, 
a most important acquisition, as he, from his habits of activity 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 139 

knowledge of men & tbings, as well as his situation as to land 
matters, will be enabled to get our town and interest a litte 
ahead in that quarter. A subject that requires the most particular 
attention shortly, or we shall be run ashore. I see no other way, 
Genl, than to be liberal in donations to the coimty, say, let the 
owners of Ramsey tract and Rice's, give each 25 acres, joining 
the line to be sold out in lots, and appropriated to the use of the 
Coimty building Court house, etc. This alone can fix things 
there and without it, the plan may be kept under for 50 years. 
Such a step would greatly enhance the balance of the property, 
fully to the amount of the donation; beside we, in that case, would 
derive some benefit during our lives, otherwise it will be an eating 
moth, having a thousand petty adverse interests to contend with. 
Think of these things and let me know your opinion, for I have 
formed no decisive one as yet; it is only my impression that I 
state. Consider too, imtil such a step as this, or something like it 
is taken; some one of us will constantly be obliged to keep guard 
at the legislature, to keep the coiulhouse from going away, a 
fatiguing, expensive, and disagreeable business, which falls to* 
my lot, as it did last Session, & will the next Session. Reside all 
the labor of correspondence, instructions, etc., it is too much 
for me to attend to this too. We must put an end to it some- 
how, and if we can do it by present sacrifice, to result in future 
benefit, it seems to me we ought not to hesitate. 
"Resply yr friend 

*7no. Overton. 
**My respects to Mrs. Winchester & family. J. O. 

"Genl. Winchester." 


"Nashville 13th March 1823. 
"Dear Genl. 

**W. Cage tells me that as they came up there was no wood 
for steam boats at the the mouth of Wolf river. I was grieved at 
this, as I had particularly lu'ged Marcus to be attentive to keeping 
a constant supply of wood for steam boats. If you travel a high 
road, will you not call at a Tavern where the tavern keeper re- 
ceives you at the door before you get down, makes you easy in 
his house and furnishes you with everything you want? I say, 
yes you will and everybody else too! — ^until at length the tavern 
keeper's house can't hold his guests, and he gets his neighbor, or 
encourages him, to come and build a house beside him, to accom- 
modate the wants of the numerous passengers passing. This is 
the beginning of every village on leading roads, and some of the 
greatest towns have grown out of villages. So, it is, on the river 
Mississippi, which has the same effect as a great road. Sir, 
let me beg of you to write to your son, seriously, on this subject, 
and everything connected, with (accommodation the most polite) 
to the passengers of the river. It is impossible for me to detail 

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140 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

to you the important bearings of these things on the growth of 
our interest in that quarter, soon it must be pushed, by liberality 
of the owners and the most assiduous attention of the first settlers 
or the critical moment slips. Write to Marcus & Carr I beg of you. 

"Yr friend 
"Genl. Jas. Winchester. Jno. Overton." 


''Nashville— Apr. 4th, 1823. 
"Dear Sir:— 

"From some recent hints given it might have been perceived 
that I viewed our prospects respecting Memphis in a gloomy 
way, and that it might be necessary for me or one of the owners 
to go immediately to the spot, (ii my honor I tell you imless 
I go there immediately and adopt some bold, liberal and decisive 
.measiu-e, the plan (as to its being of consequence or value is gone 
forever). I have consequently watched the opposition made to it, 
have attended to our Legislature every Session on that ground, 
and must go to the whole of next Session (3rd Monday in 
Sept.) as the affairs of Memphis, whether it shall be a decent 
little town in our day (say in 20 or 30 years) or a mere harbor 
for a few drunken boatmen (beside those now there). This is 
the question to be tried at oiu* next Session and those opposed 
to Memphis, wishing to take the Courthouse away (which wiU be 
its ruin) are numerous and active. My health is weak, very weak, 
this spring, but if alive will be active and confidently believe 
mjy udgt. of men, matters and things is superior to all of 
them put together, this may seem arrogant but 40 years ex- 
perience has given me this confidence. I have full power to 
act for Jackson, and Marcus has for you. On the groimd I 
shall decide and act, as it is not in my character to be indecisive. 

"I repeat without immediate prompt attention and action 
we are to be put down; and we must expect to make temporary 
sacrifices to secm-e permanent advantages. To err is but human. 
I may do so possibly but if I do, our interest being in common, 
and mine doubly yours, will suffer accordingly, but I have no fear. 

**I should be glad to see you as I cannot start from here sooner 
than Monday week. By letter it would be impossible to detail 
to you so as to give you a full view. So by rettun mail drop me 
a line, if you do not come down. 


(Signed) "Jno. Overton. 

"P. S. Marcus & Carr are securely selling their goods, with 
them whether it is a town in their day or not, is not so material. 
Lawrence is in the wood surveying. It is not from them I learn 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 141 

john overton to gen. james winchester. 

"Nashville, April 13th, 1823. 
"Dear Sir:— 

**On Wednesday morning early I start by the steam boat 
Nashville to Memphis. As I intimated in my last, events are 
developing themselves, showing clearly that all our prospects 
are lost tmless something is done; and nothing will do imless 
I go myself. 

"Every effort is making to take the Court from that place, 
and fix it elsewhere. Believing as I do that everything as to 
the growth of the place depends on keeping the Comt, I shall use 
every reasonable means to preserve it. Should Memphis be 
put back in that way it may never survive so fatal a blow. In all 
human probability it never would, as some other place would 
take the lead, and keep it; witness Nashville, and every 'other 
town in whose neighborhood as good cities may be found. It but 
illy suits me to go as I am in bad health. Unless I go now, I 
cannot before next Session of the Legislature when all would be 
lost; and all the plans I have hitherto adopted by attending the 
Legislature be defeated. 

"Tell Mr. Roberts he had better get the suit with Ring dis- 
puting the land, depending at Lebanon, continued. 

'*Your friend, 

(Signed) *7^o- Overton. 
"Genl. Jas. Winchester.'* 


"NashviUe 1st Nov., 1823. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I am just from Murfreesboro for the sixth time, and my 
business there, the fixing the Coiulhouse in Shelby County. 

The petition, praying that it may be left to a vote of the 
people, meets with strenuous opposition from the Big Creek 
people in that Coimty. I fear that it will be impossible to get 
a law passed to that effect, but if you think best I think a law 
can be procured for three commissioners to fix the site, without 
confining it to the centre, if those commissioners shall think 
proper. In this case much will depend on the comrs. They 
will be naturally inclined to the centre, if a good spring can be 
found, but I think there can not. Lawrence will be here by the 
15th this month, and I have a thought, if I can, to keep back the 
proceedings in the Legislature until he comes. 

"But in case you should approve of Commissioners, I have 
to state that Maj. Fentress, Speaker of the H. R. and Maj. 
Abram Maury will be two of them. Much depends on the third 
Com. in this case, and the Legislature will not be disposed to 
appoint any person except some prominent Member of the Legis- 
lature. What is your opinion of Genl. Hall, your Senator? 

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142 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Are you and him on friendly terms and is he as well disposed 
towards you ? He is my choice if you know of no particular 
reason. He knows that you are one of the proprietors. 

"This business is the most arduous I ever engaged in. Drop 
me a line by return of mail, or sooner if you can. If Hall should 
refuse to serve I do not know what we should do, suggest some 

"Yrs. Respt. 

**Jno. Overton. 
**Genl. Winchester." 


"Nashville Nov. 23rd, 1823. 
"Dear Sir: 

"Enclosed is a copy of the Act which I prociu-ed to be passed, 
under difficulties and oppositition, such as I never experienced 
in all my life. You will see by the date of the Act when it passed. 
From the commencement of the Session, I was all my time at 
Murfreesboro, and had to encounter a strong petition against it 
from the people on Big Creek beside the opposition of the Senator 
and Representative from that quarter. The last three nights 
before it passed I did not sleep three hours of a night, and such 
was the fatigue, and exposure that I have been laid up four days 
with the rheumatism in my back, shoulders, etc. I am just getting 
up, but still scarcely able to move. 

"It was on the last reading of the bill before I was able to get 
in the 4th Section, having with great difficulty got the bill so 
amended as not to confine the Commissioners in the selection of a 
site to three miles of the centre. To this there was great opposi- 
tion, as it had in former acts been usual in that country to confine 
the selection of the site of coimties for Courthouse towns to three 
miles of the centre. For such extraordinary exertions, believing 
that no other man could have accomplished the object, I must be 
compensated, in part by the. rest of the proprietors, and shall 
accordingly make a charge, to be accounted for in the final ad- 
justment of our accoimts. The opposition had an agent on the 
spot violently opposing our election by the people, supported 
by their petition, and as many lies as a fruitful imagination could 
well devise, and as an election was imusual thing, dark suspicion 
of imfaimess & himg for a long time over our part of the business, 
which required herculean labor, and all the influence I possessed 
to dissipate it. And there was no other possible mode of getting 
over these difficulties but to give the Coms. a controlling power 
over the election. Though I seemed to concede this, it was what 
I^ wished, for two reasons, viz: 1st, I knew or believed that if we 
could carry the election in our favor, that these commissioners 
nor any other disinterested that could be appointed, would not 
deviate from the voice of the people, or a majority, so that every- 
thing with us depends on the event of the election. 2nd, if we 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 143 

succeed in the election and the Corns, act upon it, and they con- 
firm what is done by a majority, it will have a powerful effect 
to quiet the opposition upon which the growth & prosperity of 
the town will very much depend. 

**I have written Marcus how to deport himself in every point, 
and I would submit to you whether we had not best forward 
by the first boat from 100 to 200 gallons of whiskey to Marcus, 
as in this article it will be necessary to be liberal. Probably 
new whiskey with you can be got low, there is none of any (good) 
in our neighborhood. Write me immediately on this subject. 
If you think it cannot be procured soon and sent down, write to 
Marcus to purchase it from the river as quick as possible, and 
that I will replace it. 

McLemore, who is now one of the owners, must attend this 
election, write to him urging him to do so, and he must be allowed 
for his services. Consider my age and infirmities, and the exer- 
tions I have employed from the first stage (the Indian treaty 
etc.) you will think it reasonable. 

**Resply, Yrs. 

(Signed) "Jiio. Overton. 
**Genl. Jas. Winchester. 

"(Postscript). How wd it do to give the Coimty every other 
lot in the town, instead of the 50 acres?*' 


''October 1st, 1825. 
"Dear Genl. 

"Last night I returned to his place from the Western District, 
to which place I went in company with General Jackson & his 
lady. Mrs. Jackson went to the neighborhood of Jackson in 
Madison Coimty, to visit her only two surviving sisters. 

"The General was invited to partake of a public dinner at 
Paris in Henry County, which detained us a week longer than I 
expected, and kept me from being here on the 29th as I expected. 
You will therefore have to give Mr. Bledsoe another notice, so 
that I may attend, which I will do on being informed of the time. 

I would very much wish that you woiJd spend a day at my 
house or a week if convenient, in order that we may talk over 
your law business, particularly the suit with Walton. 

The Donelson suit I am master of, I am not sure that I am 
of the other. At all events it would be a great service to the 
cause to talk it over, examining each point critically. This is 
the universal practice with lawyers & their cUents. Writing is 
not suflScient. At all times you know me well enough to be 
convinced that every exertion will be made on my part. 

"I transmitted you a deed for your interest in the Ramsey 
tract. Have you received it? If so please acknowledge the 
receipt of it by letter, and as the deed discharges the obligation 

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144 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

you hold of mine, it is nothing but right that you should deliver 
up that obligation to me, sending it by mail or safe private con- 
veyance as soon as you can. Being in years, life is imcertain, 
it is my wish that no obligations should be out, in case of death. 
I presmne you omitted to send it when you last wrote to me. 
I therefore expect to hear from you on this subject, being the 
only obUgations I have out in the world. 

Present me to Mr. & Mrs. Breedlove, of whose polite atten- 
tion, when at Orleans I retain a due sense. As usual 
''Yrs. Respty. 

**Jno. Overton. 
''Genl. J. Winchester." 

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. / 

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Frmn oli ptlnting in the State Capitol, Auetin, Taxat. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 145 












March 2 — Bom Rockbridge County, Virginia. 

His father died, leaving a widow, six sons and three 

(Probably) Came with his mother and family to Blount 

Coimty, Tennessee. 
Enlisted 39th Regiment Tennessee Regtdars. 
Joined, with his regiment, Jackson's Army in the Creek 

August 27th — Fought under Jackson at the Battle of the 

Horseshoe, and was wounded three times — once with an 

arrow, in the thigh, and twice with balls in the shoulder. 
Returned to his mother's home to recover from wounds. 
Made First Lieutenant, 1st Regiment in the regular army. 
Assigned to Adjutant-Generars oflftce in Nashville. 
Appointed Sub-agent to the Cherokees under General 

Return J. Meigs. 
May 18th — Resigned his position as First Lieutenant in 
' the Army. 

Began studying law at Nashville. 
Admitted to the bar and opened an office at Lebanon, 

Appointed Adjutant-General of Tennessee. 
Elected Prosecuting Attorney for Davidson County, Ten- 
nessee, when he removed to Nashville. 
Elected Major-General Tennessee Militia. 
Elected a Member of Congress from the Ninth Tennessee 

Elected to Congress for a second term. 
Elected Governor of Tennessee by a majority of 12,000 

over Newton Cannon and Willie Blount. 
January — Married Miss Eliza Allen of Sumner Coimty. 


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146 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnesseb History 

1829 April 16 — Resigned as Governor. 

1830 Accompanied delegation of Cherokees to Washington. 
1832 Had personal diflSculty with Congressman Stansberry of 


1832 December 10th— Entered Texias. 

1834 Elected Commander-in-Chief of the Provisional Army of 


1836 February — ^The Massacre at the Alamo. 

1836 Re-elected Commander-in-Chief. 

1836 Massacre at Goliad. 

1836 April 21st— Battle of San Jacinto. 

1836 September 1st— Elected first President of the Republic of 


1840 May 9th — ^Married to Miss Margaret Moffette Lea. 

1841 Elected a second time President of the Republic of Texas. 

1845 October 14 — ^Texas became a part of the United States. 

1846 Elected to the United States Senate. 

1853 Elected second term to United States Senate. 

1859 Elected Governor of Texas. 

1861 Resigned as Governor of Texas. 

1862 July 26th — Died, aged seventy years. 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 147 


Sam Houston was bom in Rockbridge County, Virginia, 
March 2, 1793, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. His father, 
Samuel Houston, saw service in the Revolutionary War in Gen- 
eral Daniel Morgan's brigade, and at the close of the Revolution 
was appointed Major and Assistant Inspector General of frontier 
troops. He died in 1806, leaving a widow with six sons and three 
daughters. Samuel Houston was a man of large frame and fine 
presence, like his son, the hero of San Jacinto. 

Sam Houston's mother was of large physique and great 
strength of character. Nothing could possibly illustrate her 
character better than that after her husband's death, and when Sam 
Houston was thirteen years of age, she determined to sell out 
her land in Virginia, and to cross the Alleghany Motmtains and 
settle in Blount County, Tennessee, which at that time was the 
furthermost outpost of civilization and on the dividing line 
between the territory of the red and the white man. At this 
time, with all of the modem facilities of travel, it is hard to con- 
ceive of a woman in 1806, with nine children, imdertaking a jour- 
ney of two hundred miles through the wilderness from Rockbridge 
Coimty, Virginia, to Bloimt County, Tennessee. The modem 
reader could desire nothing better than a detailed statement of 
that wonderful woman's journey and how she accomplished it. 
Sam Houston must have inherited enough of his unlimited ca- 
acity for hardships from his mother alone, to say nothing of his 
father, whose great passion was military life, and who did his 
part in the American War for Independence. After diligent 
search we have been unable to find the date that Mrs. Houston 
started from Rockbridge County, Virginia, or when she arrived in 
Blount Coimty, Tennessee; nor can we find why she selected 
the spot for a home at what is now called Brick Mill in Bloimt 
County, some eight miles from Maryville, the county seat; but 

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148 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

here she settled, and the usual frontier cabin home was built 
and the family proceeded to enter upon the customary roimd of 
frontier life. We would like very much to know what the induce- 
ment was to Mrs. Houston to come to Blount Coimty from 
Virginia, and above everything, we would like to see a pictm-e 
of the woman who undertook that journey and successfully 
accomplished it, and who gave Sam Houston to the world. 

Before leaving Virginia Houston received the rudi- 
ments of education, and he is credited with, by some means, 
securing a copy of Pope's translation of the Iliad, which appealed 
to his imagination and excited that spirit of adventure in him which 
was so great. There were events in Houston's own life which 
equaled those of Homer's Iliad. 

The Little Tennessee River was the dividing line between the 
white settlers and the Cherokees, and, following the bent of his 
nattwe for adventtwe, Houston left his family and the work of 
clerking in a coimtry store, to which he had been put, and took 
up his abode with the Cherokees, and became a .favorite with 
the chief, John Jolly. Here he was found by his family after a 
search and implored to go home, which he refused to do, and 
remained with the Cherokees. He acquired the Cherokee lan- 
guage, and wore their dress, and in his habits of life was an Indian. 
He is credited with having made the reply when his family found 
him, and tried to persuade him to return home, that he preferred 
measuring deer tracks to meastwing tape, and that they might 
leave him where he was; and he remained with the Cherokees 
until he was eighteen years old. From time to time he would 
return to the white settlements for things that he needed and then 
go back to his Indian life. He got in debt and, seeing no way 
to pay out, he retiuned to Maryville, the county seat of Blount 
County, where he had clerked in the store, and opened a school. 
It would not be diflftcult to conclude that Sam Houston's school 
would not be of a very high standard, nor that the range of studies 
would not be very wide; but he seems to have been remarkably 
successful, and that, too, in spite of the fact that he raised the 
price of tuition from six to eight dollars per year, one-third pay- 
able in com, one-third in cash, and one-third in cotton goods, 
such as his himting shirts were made of. The school paid his 
debts, and when that was done he quit teaching, and himself 
attended for a period the Academy at Maryville. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 149 

The life of Houston and his family in Blount County, 
Tennessee, has never been as fully known as the world always 
likes in reference to the early, struggling days of one who develops 
into a great man. Now that his fame is established, every 
additional fact about him becomes of general interest, so we 
present a letter to the author from Major Will A. McTeer, whose 
ancestors were soldiers in the Revolution, and he himself, a Major 
in the Federal army during the Civil War. He is a practicing 
lawyer at Maryville, Tenn., despite his advanced years, and sent 
the author the following letter about Houston and others 
of the early days. 


"Maryville, Tenn., July 17, 1919. 
**Hon. S. G. HeiskeU, 

"Knoxville, Tenn. 

"Dear Sir: — I promised to send you some information which 
had come to me in regard to Gen. Sam Houston. 

"It was told me by the late Charles C. W. Norwood, who was 
bom March 27, 1793, and died March 26, 1888. Mr. Norwood 
was a private in the Company commanded by Captain Jehu 
Stephens, known as Mounted Gunmen, of which company my 
grandfather was first sergeant, and I bad the original roll in my 
grandfather's handwriting, fiu*nishing a copy to Mr. Norwood 
when he was a very old man. He frequently talked with me about 
the days of his youth, especially of the military experiences, as 
all soldiers seeing service are fond of doing. You will see by 
the above dates that Norwood and Houston were born the same 
year. In boyhood they were then neighbors growing up in what 
was regarded as near each other, the Houston place and the 
Norwood home being about three miles apart, as well as I can 
guess at the distance. 

**The country was then very thinly settled, so according to Mr. 
Norwood he and 'Sam' became cronies. He told of Houston's 
financial embarrassment almost exactly as you give in your book, 
and said that he was greatly embarrassed and troubled over it, 
for they imprisoned in those days for debt. In his distress he 
came to Norwood and asked what he could do, and whether he 
could give him some help. 

"Norwood said he told him that there was an easy way of relief, 
that they were then raising troops, and paying a bounty, and that 
he could enlist, and the bounty would relieve him of his debts. 

"He said Houston acted on his advice, received the bounty, 
and paid his debts; so, Mr. Norwood contended that he started 
*Sam Houston' on his mihtary career. The old Norwood house 
was used for many years as an inn for the entertainment of trav- 
elers in the days of the stage coach, being on the main road and 

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150 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

a general line of travel. The old house is still standing and now 
used as a residence. 

* 'There is a lady living here in town, Mrs. Kinnick, who was 
bom and raised in the neighborhood of the old Houston home place, 
some ten miles from Maryville. She had an uncle who has long 
since passed away, and on an occasion she was with him when 
passing a large flowing spring, the imde remarked that when a 
boy Sam Houston drank from that spring, and that he played 
in many a romp around there with Houston. I told her that I 
wanted to take her there and let her show me the spring, and she 
promised to do so. A German named Fritz Berkemire now owns 
the place. I think it is not far from Binfidd, but will make 
inquiry further, and have thought of suggesting to you a trip 
there if we could reach it. Some time ago I had some letters 
from Texas making inquiry as to the grave of Mrs. Houston, the 
General's mother. It was suggested that perhaps it was in the 
old burying grounds here at Maryville, or possibly at Bakers 
Creek, which is one of the oldest bmying grounds in that end 
of the coimty. I have made diligent search in the grounds here 
aijd had a friend to make a like search at Bakers Creek, but no 
traces have been found of the grave. I have since imderstood 
that there is on the old Houston place a private burying place 
as was sometimes the case in the olden times. I am anxious to 
go on that account, and see whether any trace can be found thei:e. 

**Some time ago I was looking over some old court records, 
and found the following of date, Saturday, 29th September, 1810: 

** 'Ordered by Court that John B. Cusack be fined Ten Dollars 
and Samud Houston Five Dollars for committing a contempt 
to this Court in their view in disorderly, riotously, wantonly, 
with an assembly of militia annoying the court with the noise 
of a Drum, and with force preventing the Sheriff and Oflftcer of 
the Court in the discharge of their duty, and with force and 
arms disturbing the Good order of said Court and abusing thdr 
Sheriff and demeaning themsdves against the peace and dignity 
of the State.' 

''Following immediately after the above entry is another as 
to John B. Cusack alone: 

** 'Ordered by Court that John B. Cusack be fined Twenty 
Dollars for committing a contempt of this Court in their view in a 
disorderly manner with an assembly of Militia, annoying the Coiu-t 
with noise of a Drum and disregarding the commands of the Sheriff.* 

"My first impression was that these dates showed the time 
of enlistment for service in the war of 1812, but it appears to be 
in 1810, too early for the service. John B. Cusack was one of the 
early settlers of Maryville, the records showing that he owned 
considerable of the Maryville lots, and one of our prindpal streets 
was named for him when the town was established. 

"Yours, very truly, 


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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 151 

mrs. thomas j. wallace. 

Mrs. Thomas J. Wallace, of Franklin, Tennessee, whose 
paternal grandfather was General William Wallace, an oflftcer 
in the Revolutionary War, and maternal grandfather Frederick 
S. Heiskell, elsewhere referred to in this book as the founder of 
the Knoxville Register in 1815, wrote and read in 1913 a paper 
on Sam Houston before the Tennessee Historical Society at 
Nashville, and also before Old Glory Chapter, Daughters of the 
American Revolution, at Franklin, of which she is a member. 

Mrs. Wallace never saw Sam Houston, but she writes from 
information obtained directly from her father. Judge Jesse G. 
Wallace, who was well acquainted with him, and therefore, what 
she says can be taken as absolutely authentic, as from a first- 
hand witness. I quote a part of Mrs. Wallace's paper: 

**In MaryviUe was located an Academy, afterwards called the 
South- Western Theological Seminary, and later on changed to 
MaryviUe College; and so it was only a step from civilization to 
the heart of a Cherokee band. My grandfather. General William 
Wallace, was one of the Directors of this institution, and also 
its Treasurer for a number of years. He married 6ne of the widow 
Houston's daughters, Mary Houston, who first married my great- 
unde, Matthew Wallace, and after his death she married my 
grandfather. My father, who was the late Judge Jesse G. Wallace, 
of Franklin, Tennessee, always called her *Aunt Polly/ as, by 
marriage, she was first his aunt, and then his stepmother. 

**At the time of my father's death he had in his possession 
a letter which Governor Houston wrote to my grandfather thank- 
ing him, in tones of tenderest affection, for the great devotion 
that had been given his sister. 

* 'Although no Houston blood ran in my father's veins, there 
were few people who could have given as accurately as he the 
early part of Sam Houston's career. It was his custom to make 
marginal notes upon any incorrect historical statement he read 
concerning Houston. One thing that is often quoted and gener- 
ally believed my father always said was not true, that is, that 
Sam Houston was adopted by an Indian. 

**As I have shown, the mountains were in easy reach of the 
Houston home, and as Sam possessed a roaming disposition, and 
an iron constitution, with wonderful skill in whatever he under- 
took, what more natural than that he should spend much time 
in the pursuit of those sports so dear to his heart? 

**He was adored by the Indians in general, and by one chief 
in particular, who offered to adopt him, and called him *Coloneh' 
the Wanderer, which seems prophetic of Houston's erratic futiu-e. 
From start to finish, the Indians appealed to Sam Houston to 

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152 Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 

such a degree that it might more correctly be said that he adopted 
the Indians. The Houstons had a store in Maryville in which 
they endeavored to interest their brother Sam, but he, athirst 
for adventure, found *measiuing tape too tame' for him; he said 
he 'preferred measuring deer tracks.* 

*'My father was as fluent in their vernacular as was Houston, 
himself. I can remember the saluations: *Ocee, SenoUi* — 
*Howdy-do, White-Man,' *Ocee Cherokee' — *HoWdy-do, Chero- 
kee;* and that my mother once gave a friendly squaw a bonnet 
to get rid of her, when she was begging for my baby sister. 

'*So it was in this vicinity that Sam Houston grew up — tall 
and handsome, shrewd and sagacious, witty and winning. While 
his character was not altogether symmetrical, it was strong and 
magnetic, and he was absolutely without petty vices. His faults 
were on as broad and generous a plan as his virtues; he did his 
own thinking, and whatever he pretended to be, that thing he was. 

"With sinews like iron he whipped his man if necessary, dis- 
daining a quarrel, and was afraid of nothing. His reputation 
for bravery was so well established that he could refuse to fight 
a duel without being called a coward. He fought one on Ken- 
tucky soil with General White in which both escaped with their 
lives, but ever afterwards he numbered and filed them, telling 
Number 14 he must await his ttun. 

** Before leaving Virginia Houston had learned to read and 
write, and he received fiulher schooling at the Maryville Academy, 
when Dr. Isaac Anderson was president of the school. Dr. Isaac 
Anderson said that often *I had determined to whip Sam Houston, 
but he would come up with such a pretty dish of excuses that I 
could not do it.' 

"In 1813 he enlisted in the army, and in the battle of the 
Horseshoe in Alabama he received some severe wounds, and also 
won the notice of General Jackson for his bravery. At the close 
of day he was left for dead on the battlefield. My great-uncle, 
John Wallace, who had enlisted with him, fell by his side, mor- 
tally wounded. But here the tough fiber of Sam Houston's con- 
stitution asserted itself; although he was never the same physi- 
cally as before, he managed to pull through a number of years 
and tough places afterwards with apparent ease. 

"I have heard my father tell of an incident in this connection 
which happened when Houston was President of Texas, and had 
come back on a visit to Maryville, Tennessee. While surrounded 
by admiring friends and relatives grown confidential over remin- 
iscenses, one presumed to make some imfavorable comment upon 
his first wife's treatment of him. Raising himself from a sofa, 
the old warrior, with flashing eyes, roared: 'Whoever dares to 
say a word against Eliza shall pay for it.' 

"On May 9, 1840, a marriage license was issued to 'Samuel 
Houston, of Texas, and Margaret Moflfette Lea, of Marion, 
Alabama.* The record is signed by J. M. Nave, Clerk of the 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 153 

County Court of Perry. Houston was nothing if not romantic, 
so there is quite a spice of romance attending this marriage also.\ 
Professor Burleson, President of the Baptist Female Seminary 
at Waco, Texas, tells of his accompanying the hero of Jacinto, 
when he came to New Orleans for expert medical treatment of 
a woimd received on this famous battlefield. The news of the 
President's — General Houston's— coming had been spread, and 
as his steamboat came up to her moorings a great throng had 
collected to do him homage. A bevy of school girls were there 
to welcome him. Among them was the beautiful Margaret Lea, 
who had been sent from Marion, Alabama, to New Orleans, to 
finish her education. As the crowd surged about Houston, 
Marion Lea said: 

" *I am going to catch the old hero, see if I don't,* and she 
made good her boast. 

**Of course she was introduced, and her flattering words 
repeated. Houston was forty-seven years old, and very sus- 
ceptible to a young girl's notice. Thus the acquaintanceship, 
begim that day in New Orleans, resulted in that May wedding 
in the Lea home, in Marion, Alabama. The old home stands 
today as a type of ante-bellum grandeur, for the Leas were the 
flower of Southern families. Professor Burleson, along with many 
others came with the General from Texas to attend the wedding. 

*'Mrs. Sample, now eighty years old (1913), who formerly 
lived in Himtsville, recently said she had often visited the General's 
daughters. His restless spirit must have shown itself even in 
his devotional exercises, as Mrs. Sample says that as ^Houston 
sat in church he carved most beautiful little baskets and trinkets 
from cherry and peach stones' — many of them he had given her. 

''There is no doubt that this marriage was a very happy one. 
Several bright children were born. One son. Temple Houston, 
was a writer of note. A daughter had considerable literary ability, 
and once wrote for one of our Nashville papers imder a nom de 

**When'I was a young girl one of the daughters visited my aunt, 
Mrs. Temple Bicknell, who lived in* Columbia, Tennessee, and 
was much admired and toasted." 

Houston's enustment in the army. 

The United States began taking enlistments for the war of 
1812, and Houston began the life of a soldier in defense of his 
country. The writers of his history differ as to where he enlisted, 
some putting it at Maryville, Tennessee, and others at Kingston, 
Tennessee, which was then known as Southwest Point, but the 
dear and absolute statement of Colonel Willoughby Williams 
ought to settle the question. Colonel Williams was bom in 1798 
and published some reminiscences beginning with the year 1809, 

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154 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

which form a very valuable contribution to early Tennessee history. 
He was living in Nashville in 1880 with mind and memory imim- 
paired by age, at the time Nashville celebrated the one hundredth 
anniversary of its being founded. He was a most intimate per- 
sonal friend of Houston, and they knew each other at Kingston 
from the time that Williams was thirteen and Houston eighteen 
years of age. Colonel Williams gave a very interesting sketch 
of Sam Houston, with details such as no one else among all those 
who have written of Houston's early history, has ever been able 
to give; and coming from an authoritative source such as Colonel 
WilHams, it may be accepted as authentic upon every point. 
He says: 

**My earliest recollections of General Houston date back to 
1811, at Kingston, Roane County, Tennessee. He was a clerk 
at the time in the store of Mr. Sheffy. My mother in her widow- 
hood was living about three miles from Kingston. I was thirteen 
years of age, and Mr. Houston was five years my senior. The 
line of the Cherokee country was about three miles south of 
Kingston, the Holston River being the boundary. The Indian 
trade being much valued, his services were highly appreciated 
from the fact that he spoke with fluency the Cherokee language. 
He was especially kind to me, and much of my time was spent 
in his company. He remained in the capacity of clerk until after 
the declaration of the War of 1812. At that time the United 
States were recruiting troops at Kingston for the war. Lieuten- 
ant William Arnold of the 39th regiment of regulars was sent to 
Kingston on recruiting service. The whole population had got 
the war fever and intense interest prevailed. 

**The manner of enlisting at that day was to parade the streets 
with drum and fife, with the sergeant in command. Silver dol- 
lars were placed on the head of the drum and as a token of enlist- 
ment the volunteer stepped up and took a dollar, which was his 
bounty; he was then forthwith marched to the barracks and 
uniformed. The late Robert H. McEwen, of Nashville, cousin 
of General Houston, and myself, were standing together on the 
street and saw Houston take his dollar from the drum and enlist 
as a private in the year 1813. He was taken immediately to the 
barracks, dressed as a soldier, and appointed the same day as a 
sergeant. Soon after this Lieutenant Arnold received thirty- 
nine soldiers, and was ordered to send them forth to join the 
troops marching to the Creek war under the command of Colonel 
John Williams, who commanded this regiment of regulars in 
person at the battle of the Horseshoe, and afterwards became a 
distinguished Senator in Congress from Tennessee. Soon after 
Houston left Kingston his friends applied to President Madison 
for his promotion, who commissioned him an ensign. The 

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Andrkw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 155 

commission was promptly sent and reached him before the 
battle of the Horseshoe. 

*'At that battle he mounted the Indian defenses with colors 
in hand, and was wounded by a barbed arrow in the thigh. A 
soldier whom he ordered to extract it by main force made several 
ineffectual efforts, and only succeeded after a threat by Houston 
to kill him unless he pulled it out. He was carried back suffering 
intensely from the wound which was much lacerated. His indom- 
itable will led him immediately back into the fight when he was 
soon wounded by two balls in his right shoulder. His intrepid 
spirit displayed upon this occasion won for him the lasting regard 
of General Jackson. Disabled from further service, he was sent 
back to Kingston with the sick and wounded. Robert H. McEwen 
and myself met him some distance from Kingston on a litter sup- 
ported by two horses. He was greatly emaciated, suffering at 
the same time from wounds and the measles. We took him to 
the house of his relative, 'Squire John McEwen, brother of R. 
H. McEwen, where he remained for some time, and from thence 
he went to the house of his mother in Blount County. After 
this battle he received the appointment of Lieutenant for his 
gallantry. After the restoration of peace he was appointed sub- 
Agent of the Cherokee Nation, under Return J. Meigs, who was 
Agent, the agency being on the bank of the Hiwassee, near where 
the railroad between Knoxville and Chattanooga crosses the 
spot where the remains of Governor McMinn and Return J. 
Meigs lie buried, both having been agents of the Indian nation." 

The Creek War came on, and the massacre by the Indians 
at Fort Mims, Alabama, occiured August 10th, 1813, and this 
was followed by the defeat of the Indians by General Jackson at 
Talladega and Taluschatchee, but neither of these defeats crushed 
the Indian nation, and General Jackson determined to wage an 
exterminating campaign, and to make a final assault on the 
Creeks at the Horseshoe. The Horseshoe is so called because 
of the circular bend which the Tallapoosa River makes, and thereby 
encloses about one hundred acres of land in a circular peninsula. 
About seven himdred Indians had taken a stand at the Horse- 
shoe, and built strong, heavy breast-works across the neck of the 
peninsula. These breast-works consisted of pine logs set upright 
in the ground, and constituted a very formidable protection to 
the Indians on the inside, especially as Jackson had no guns 
except two small field pieces, the calibre of which was so light 
that they made no impression on the pine logs. It was necessary, 
therefore, that the breastworks should be scaled by a dangerous 
charge of Jackson's soldiers, and the risk taken of their being shot 
down while going over the breast- works by the Indians on the inside. 

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156 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Jackson got to the Horseshoe on August 27, 1814, and began 
operations in the forenoon with fire from his fom--and six-pounder 
cannon, which was without effect. When the Indians saw that 
their breast-works were proof against the cannon, they yelled and 
whooped with contempt at the assault made upon them, and 
replied through portholes in the logs. 

General John Coffee, who was the Murat of Jackson's army 
and a great military character by natiu'e and instinct, went two 
miles down the Tallapoosa below the Horseshoe, and crossed and 
came back opposite the Indian fortifications. But he had no 
means of recrossing that point until some friendly Indians who 
were in his ranks swam to the other side of the river where the 
Creeks had tied their canoes to the banks, and brought a number 
of the canoes to General Coffee; and by these canoes he trans- 
ported a part of his force across the river; and the Indians, not 
expecting assault upon the river side, had left no protecting force 
there. Coffee's men began to bum the wigwams and houses, 
and soon the roll of smoke and the sight of the blaze warned the 
Creeks that they were assaulted from the rear also; and the roll 
of the smoke and the sight of the blaze was also notice to Jackson 
that Coffee was across the stream; and then came the assault 
of Jackson's men by leaping over the breastworks. Sam Houston 
was one of the first to moimt to the top of the breastworks, and 
there received a barbed arrow in his thigh. He sprang down to 
the inside with the men who had followed, and drove the Indians 
back from the palisade, and began a hand-to-hand battle with 
the Creeks. Houston called upon a lieutenant to pull the arrow 
out,' which he twice attempted to do, and failed, and upon demand- 
ing that he try a third time, the lieutenant succeeded in extracting 
the arrow, but it left a bad and bloody wound. Recrossing the 
breastworks in order to have the blood staunched, he was seen 
by Jackson, who ordered him to the rear, but he did not remain 
there; as soon as he could, without being seen by Jackson, he re- 
turned to the combat on the inside of the breastworks. The 
Creeks fought with all the fury of despair, and never in all their 
history did the Red man in America, whether in combats with 
the French, the English, the Americans or the Spaniards, so show 
the utter fearlessness of his nature. 

The Creeks were outnumbered nearly three to one, and Jack- 
son's men were the better armed, the Creeks fighting both with 
gims and with bows and arrows, but this made no difference. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 157 

They ran up no white flag. They asked no quarter. They never 
for a moment ceased to fight, and combat finally became a mere 
slaughter, until the greater part of the entire Creek force lay upon 
the ground, either dead or woimded, except a small band who had 
taken refuge in a ravine bordering on the river, which was covered 
over with logs, and which was impregnable to assault except from 
the river front. The fight had continued into the afternoon, 
beginning at about ten o'clock in the morning, and extended over 
the htmdred acre enclosure. In order to exterminate the Creeks 
in the ravine, and complete his victory, Jackson called for volim- 
teers to make an assault upon the ravine, and Houston, wounded 
as he was, came forward, and called upon his men to follow him 
but none came. It was then that he received two musket shots 
in his shoulder, which rendered his upper right arm helpless, 
and which compelled him to retire. Jackson succeeded in getting 
the logs across the ravine on fire, and the warriors were shot down, 
as they escaped from the flames. 

We cannot imderstand why, in his report of the battle, 
Jackson made no mention of the heroic conduct of Houston. 
Military history abounds in all nations with acts of supreme hero- 
ism, and in the coiu-se of ages millions of men have died, a willing 
sacrifice in battle; men have walked into the very jaws of death 
without a tremor; but when Houston volunteered to lead 
the assault upon the ravine, and no one followed him, and he was 
shot twice by gun fire, he rendered himself in the mihtary history 
of Tennessee eligible to the fame of the immortals. His coiurage 
when he leaped to the top of the breastworks and received the 
arrow in the thigh was of the same desperate character. We 
could wish that Jackson's report had carried with it Houston's 
name. After the battle was over he was given up, as being beyond 
help, but Uved through the night, and on the next day was con- 
veyed by horse Utter to Fort WiUiams, and from there was taken 
to Ten Islands, and General Dougherty, who led the East Ten- 
nessee troops in the fight, had him conveyed by horse Utter the 
hundreds of miles through the wilderness that had to be crossed 
before his mother's cabin in Blount County was reached. It 
took two months to get to her cabin door, and she said she would 
not have recognized him except by his eyes. He was next removed 
to Klnoxville for medical treatment, where his recovery was slow. 

His next movement, even in his weakened] condition, [was to 
start on horseback to Washington. He finally retiuned to Knox- 

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158 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

viUe, after the battle of New Orleans; and was appointed Lieuten- 
ant, and assigned to the First Regiment of Infantry, and went 
to New Orleans. He was unfit for active military duty, and was 
assigned to the Adjutant General's oflSce in Nashville, where he 
worked until November, 1817, about which time he was appointed 
sub-agent under General Return J. Meigs to handle the matters 
of the Cherokees. His former life with that tribe made him very 
useful to the Government, and his duties led him finally to the 
City of Washington, with some Cherokees, on matters connected 
with the boundaries of their reservations. Houston was dressed 
in the garb of an Indian when he appeared before John C. Cal- 
hotm, Secretary of War, who took exceptions to his manner of 
dress. Charges had been preferred against Houston, connected 
with his duties with the Indians; but he, in his turn, took excep- 
tion to the investigation put afloat by the Secretary of War, 
and resigned from the army in 1818, where he had served for five 
years. Naturally highstrung, impatient, bold, and fearless, 
it is probable that Calhoun's rebuke to Houston would not have 
been sufficient to cause a man of less fiery temper to resign from 
the army, but Houston was a fiery man, and with it all, independ- 
ent, self-reliant, and honorable in his conduct. 

Thomas H. Benton paid him this tribute in the United States 

** Houston was appointed an ensign in the army of the United 
States during the late war with Great Britain, and served in the 
Creek campaign under the banner of Jackson. I was the Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel of the regiment to which he belonged, and the 
first field officer to whom he reported. I then marked in him 
the same soldierly and gentlemanly qualities which have since 
distinguished his eventful career; frank, generous and brave, 
ready to do or suffer whatever the obligations of civil or military 
duty imposed, and always prompt to answer the call of honor, 
patriotism or friendship.**' 

Houston's next move was to study law, which he did for six 
months in Nashville, and was admitted to the bar, and settled 
at Lebanon, Tennessee, where he was very kindly treated by 
Isaac Golladay, the postmaster, and an echo of his life at Lebanon 
is found in a statement of a son of Isaac Golladay, found in Wil- 
liams* "Sam Houston and the War of Independence in Texas:" 

"I was traveling in Texas in 1853. Arrived at the town of 
Huntsville, Walker County, on Sunday at about eleven o'clock. 
The good people of the town and vicinity were passing on to 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 159 

the church as I rode up to the hotel. I was very sick; had a high 
fever on me when I dismounted. I told the landlord I was very 
sick and wanted a room; he assigned me a room and was very 
kind in his attentions. I took a bed immediately, and while 
talking to him, asked him in what part of the State General 
Houston lived. He replied, *He lives about one and a half miles 
from town, and his family and he have just passed, going to 
church in their carriage.* To this I said, Tlease keep on Sie look- 
out, and when he returns from chiu-ch let him know that a Golla- 
day of Tennessee is lying sick here.' After the church hour was 
over, say twelve or one o'clock, a large, portly, elegant-looking 
man came walking into my room and to my bedside. I knew 
from the description that I had had of him, that it was General 
Houston, although I had never seen him. I called him by name. 
He asked me if I was the son of his old friend, Isaac Golladay, 
of Lebanon, Tennessee. I replied I was. He then asked me which 
one. I told him I was Frederick. He said he knew my elder 
brothers, but he had left Lebanon before I was bom, but added, 
*If you are the son of Isaac Golladay I recognize you as the son 
of an old and true friend. I went to Lebanon, where yotu- father 
resided, a poor young man; yoiu* father furnished me an oflSce 
for the practice of law; credited me in his store for clothes; let 
me have the letters, which then cost twenty-five cents postage, 
from the oflSce of which he was postmaster; invited me to his 
house, and recommended me to all the good people of his large 
general acquaintance.' He then said, *You must go out to my 
house. I will come in my carriage for you in the evening.* I 
replied with thanks that I was too sick to go, but he insisted on 
coming for me the next morning, to which I consented. Early 
the next morning he came for me ; being better, I went out to his 
house with him. He placed me in a room in his yard, saying that 
Mrs. H. was confined to her room with an infant at that time. 
My fever rose and kept me confined. He sent for a physician. 
I was sick there for about ten days or two weeks. .He made a 
servant-man stay and sleep in the oflSce with me, to wait on me 
all the while, but would often come and see me, and spend much 
of his time with me. One night, especially, while I was sick, the 
doctor had left orders for my medicine to be given me during the 
night, and my feet bathed with warm water. He stayed all night 
with me. He had the vessel of warm water brought, pulled off 
his coat, rolled up his sleeves, to wash my feet. I objected, the 
servant being present. He replied, *My Master washed His dis- 
ciples* feet, and I would follow His glorious example,* and insisted 
that he should do so. During the time which he spent with me 
in my sick room, he gave me much of his early history." 

On entering upon his profession in Tennessee, Houston natur- 
ally became a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson, and so con- 
tinued to the end of his life. 

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160. Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

In the city of Houston, Texas, lives Franklin Williams, a 
grandson of Sam Houston, whose testimony as to the lifelong 
friendship between Andrew Jackson and his grandfather will 
interest every one who admires those two great men, and hence 
is reproduced a letter of Mr. Williams to the author: 

"Houston, Texas, June 26, 1917. 
**Dear Sir: 

**I beg to acknowledge receipt of the pamphlet descriptive of 
the 'Hermitage' for which accept my sincere thanks. It is indeed 
interesting, and I shall prize it highly. I am always interested 
in anything that has to do with Andrew Jackson, for my grand- 
father. General Houston, loved him above all men. 

**When stricken with his last illness, General Jackson sent 
to Texas for General Houston, asking that he come to him, and 
Houston made the arduous joiuney over-land, arriving at the 
Hermitage the day after his (Jadcson's) death. Among my 
most prized possessions, I have several letters from Jackson to 
Houston (in his own handwriting) which show the dose bond 
of friendship existing betvireen them. 

*'I hope that the day is not far distant when I will have the 
pleasiure of visiting this home of one of America's greatest men. 
I never see a picture of Andrew Jackson but I think of those lines 
of Shakespeare, 

*See, what a grace was seated on this brow: 
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself; 
An eye hke Mars to threaten and command; 
A station like the herald Mercury, 
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill, 
A combination and a form indeed, 
Where every god did seem to set his seal. 
To give the world assurance of a man.' 

"Again thanking you for your kind thoughtfulness, I beg to 
remain, Yours very truly, 


In 1819 Houston was appointed Adjutant General of the State 
of Tennessee, and in the same year was elected Prosecuting At- 
torney for Davidson County. 

^ In 1821 he was elected Major-General of the Tennessee militia, 
and in 1823 was elected to Congress, and served two terms, or 
foiu" years. 

It was during his Congressional life that he fought a duel 
with General William White, just across the Tennessee line, in 
Kentucky, on September 23, 1826. The cause leading up to 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 161 

the dud was the appointment of Colonel Irwin as postmaster 
at Nashville, Tennessee, which Houston objected to, and Colonel 
Irwin's cause was taken up by General White, which led to the 
duel. Houston was untouched, and General White was dan- 
gerously shot through the side, but finally recovered. 

This was the only duel that Houston ever fought, though he 
received other challenges. We wonder why, in that day, when 
the duel was the recognized method of settling personal differ- 
ences, that he did not lose caste and be branded as a coward, but 
he never did. 


The National Banner knd Nashville Whig of August 10, 
1827, quotes from Heiskell & Brown's Knoxville Register the 
following account of a dinner given to Gen. Houston at Tellico 
and his speech on his duel, in response to a toast. 

"General Houston — ^At Tellica, in East Tennessee, Gen. 
Houston was lately honored by an invitation to a public dinner 
which he attended, and at which he was complimented by the 
following toast: 

**Our distinguished guest — Riveted to the affections of a grateful 
people, by a Coalition attack upon his independent purity, basely 
subsidizing the authority of the Executive of Kentucky, claiming 
his arrest and trial for the vile purpose of morally stabbing his political 

"Having been thus noticed, the Knoxville Register furnishes 
the following account of the General's speech in reply: 

"General Houston arose and made a most forcible and im- 
pressive reply to th^ sentiment contained in this toast, and it is 
to be regretted that we are imable to give it in his own words. 
He said in substance, that the transaction alluded to was ope 
which he could never suffer his mind to recur to without mingled 
sensations of pain and thankfulness. It gave him pain to think 
it had been his misfortune , to be compelled to engage in single 
combat with any individual. He felt thankful to that Providence 
which had enabled him to save his person, and his honor without 
doing a lasting injury to a fellow creature. He said he always 
had been, and still was, opposed to the practice of dueling. He 
had passed through the army without ever being necessitated to 
an act that would sanction such practice, and had hoped to pass 
through the walks of civil and political life * following peace,' 
and practicing, 'good will towards all men;' but the present 
Administration of- the Federal Government and some of their 
partisans, had directed otherwise. The Postmaster at Nash- 
ville resigned, and about 650 persons had recommended as his 
successor a yoimg man who had been long an assistant in the 
ofiSce and every way qualified to do its duties. This recommenda- 


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162 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbe History 

tion was supported by the recommendation of ten out of eleven 
of your Members of Congress. These recommendations were 
disregarded, and a man appointed with but very few recommenda- 
tions in his favor, but he was a partisan of those in power. He, 
as representing the district, felt indignant at their public mani- 
festation of disregard to the will of the people, and had complained, 
as he felt it his duty to do, in strong terms. The executive him- 
self had communicated, or caused to be done, his statement to 
the successful applicant. Upon his retimi home, instead of the 
greeting of all his constituents, he fotmd a challenge ready, for 
what he had said in discharge of a public duty. The object 
was to disquaUfy him, if he accepted it, to degrade and disgrace 
him, if he would not. How was the challenge deUvered? Not 
in his room; not in secret. Even dueling, gentlemen, has its 
laws of honor. The challenge was delivered in the public square 
in view of the multitude, and in company with the gentleman who 
}iad attended as a witness, he had some words which produced 
a challenge from him. With that gentleman he had always 
been on friendly terms, a^inst him he had no ill will, but with 
him he must risk his life in mortal combat, or be degraded, driven 
out of the country. This was an alternative he could not agree 
to. He had risked his life in defense of his country's honor, he 
must do the same in defense of his own. You have heard the 
rest. Thank God my adversary was injured no worse. But 
here the matter, it seems, was not to rest. Houston shall not be 
Governor, is the decree of those in power and their minions. A. 
witness is sent from Tennessee to Kentucky, an indictment is 
there framed and a grand jtuy procured to find a true bill, and I 
am proclaimed a felon. Yes! a felon! Under a belief no free 
man will agree to have a felon for his Governor, and with a view- 
to its being generally known, it is published in their favorite 
prints 'The Focus,' and the *Whig and Banner.' 

"If my fellow citizens think me in the light of a horse-thief, 
a felon, they ought not to vote for me; but if they view me as 
acting involimtarily, from a necessity imposed by others, I hope 
they will vote for me, and should I be favored with a majority, 
I will be Governor of Tennessee, the decree of the Federal adminis- 
tration and their minions to the contrary notwithstanding; be- 
cause the statute incapacitating me is unconstitutional. 

"I beg leave to conclude by offering the following sentiment: 
"The citizens of Monroe County — May they be as prosperous 
and happy as they are benevolent and patriotic." 

Houston's next promotion in the politics of Tennessee was 
in 1827, when he was elected Governor. He was a candidate for 
a second term, when the people of the State were astoimded 
to learn that he had resigned as Governor on April 16, 1829, and 
was going to leave the State. This event constitutes the dividing 
line in Houston's life, and was fraught with momentous conse- 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 163 

quences to him. The cause of it is simple enough, when the 
character of Houston is really understood. 

Houston had married Miss Eliza Allen, of Sumner County, 
who was about seventeen years younger than he, and it is practi- 
cally certain that it was not a marriage of affection on Miss Allen's 
part, but one of ambition, fiuthered by her parents, as he was 
then Governor of Tennessee. Houston said about the separation: 

"Eliza stands acquitted by me. I have received her as a vir- 
tuous, chaste wife, and as such, I pray God, I may ever regard 
her, and I trust I ever shall. She was cold to me, and I thought, 
did not love me." 

Houston's superlative vanity was wounded to the quick. The 
proof is conclusive that there was nothing wrong between him 
and his wife, except that it was not a marriage of affection on 
Mrs. Houston's part. Neither of them ever made a charge against 
the other; no criticism escaped their lips; and for this dignified 
and becoming silence, the generations that have succeeded them 
accord them both profound respect. 

The separation produced immense excitement in Nashville 
and Tennessee, and Houston was bitterly denounced, especially 
by his political enemies, and he left the State, and went to his 
old friends, the Cherokee Indians in Arkansas, where Chief John 
Jolly still lived, the head of the tribe, and who received the ex- 
Governor of Tennessee with cordiality and hospitaUty. There 
Houston made his home for from two to three years, and until, 
with an understanding with General Jackson, he went to Texas, 
which was then on the verge of a revolution against Mexico, and 
there enlisted in the cause of Texan independence. 

Many persons have wondered what the procediu-e was by 
which Houston, after he resigned as Governor, became one of the 
Cherokee Nation. It appears that Chief John Jolly appointed a 
Special Committee to admit Houston to citizenship in the Cher- 
okee Nation, but a question was raised as to the regularity of this, 
and it was determined that a formal resolution should be passed 
to place his admittance to citizenship beyond question, and the 
following was the resolution. : 


**Resolved by the National Committee and Council in General 
Council convened, that in consideration of his former acquaint- 
ance with and services rendered to the Cherokees and his present 
disposition to improve their condition and benefit their circmn- 

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164 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

stances, and our confidence in his integrity and honor, if he should 
remain among us, we do solemnly, firmly and irrevocably grant 
to Samuel Houston forever all the rights, privileges and immuni- 
ties of a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. 


President of Committee. 

Clerk of Committee. 

Speaker of Council. 
Clerk of Council. 
**Tah-lon-tee-skee, October 31, 1831. 

Approved: ^'JOHN JOLLY." 

Shortly after Houston resigned as Governor he received a very 
sympathetic letter from Andrew Jackson, a part of which is given : 


"My affliction was great, and as much as I could well bear, 
when I parted from you on the 18th of January last. I then viewed 
you as on the brink of happiness and rejoiced. About to be 
united in marriage to a beautiful yotmg lady, of accompUshed 
manners, and of respectable connections, and of your own se- 
lection — ^you, the Governor of the State and holdmg the aflfec- 
tions of the prople — ^these were your prospects when I shook 
you by the hands and bade you farewell! You can well judge 
my astonishment and grief in receiving a letter from you dated 
at Little Rock A. T. conveying the sad intelUgence that you were 
then a private citizen, an exile from yoiu- country. What re- 
verse of fortune! How tmstable are human affairs!'* 

It is difficult, so far removed from the time of Governor 
Houston's separation from his wife, to understand how the 
pubUc became so interested in the matter as to take a prominent, 
passionate, and denunciatory part in it. 

The supposition is that Houston's political and personal 
enemies thought they saw an opportunity to crush him, and took 
full advantage of it. At any rate, it did crush him, politically, 
in Tennessee. But he lived to fulfill a destiny which, in its un- 
limited benefactions upon the American people, was little, if 
any, short of the grand service rendered America by Andrew Jack- 
son himself. So that we, of our day, can look with a very tolerant 
eye upon Governor Houston's separation from his wife; and it 
will not be very difficult for the student of history to conclude 
that the cause of the separation was that the marriage was not 
one of affection on the part of Mrs. Houston; that Governor 

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Andrew Jackson and Early TsNNBsseB History 165 

Houston found this out about three months after the marriage, 
and with that monumental vanity he always exhibited, he was 
wounded to the quick, and in a fit of desperation resolved to 
throw to the winds the success and eminence he had achieved, 
and go back to a life of nature among the Cherokees. 

On March 31st, 1832, Congressman WiUiam Stansberry, 
of Ohio, in a speech on the floor of the Houses of Representatives, 
reflected upon Houston in connection with a proposed contract 
for Indian rations, and Houston excepted to the language of 
the Congressman, and addressed him a note, asking if his speech 
had been correctly reported. To this Stansberry replied that 
he did not recognize the right of Houston to put such a question 
to him. Houston at once declared his intention to whip Stans- 
berry on sight, of which threat Stansberry was duly informed, 
and armed himself with a pistol for an expected attack. Houston 
carried nothing except a hickory cane, and the encoimter took 
place on April 13, on the street in Washington, when neither party 
was expecting it right at the time. As they came together Hous- 
ton asked him if his name was Stansberry. On being told that 
he was, Houston replied, "You are a damn rascal,** and struck 
him with the stick, knocked him down, and beat him severely. 
As Stansberry lay on the gound, he pulled the pistol and snapped 
it at Houston, but it did not go oflf, whereupon Houston stopped 
beating him, and walked away. 

Stansberry addressed a letter to the Speaker of the House of 
Representatives, stating that he had been beaten by Governor 
Houston for words used in a debate, and the Speaker laid the 
information before the House of Representatives, and a resolution 
was passed that the Sergeant-at-Arms bring Houston before the 
House. James K. Polk, then a member of Congress, and other 
of Jackson*s friends, opposed this resolution, but proposed that 
a Committee of Inquiry be first appointed to get at the facts of 
the case; but the resolution passed by a majority of more than 
five to one, and Houston was arrested and brought before the 
House for trial. He was allowed time to procure coimsel and 
witnesses, and Francis Scott Key became his coimsel. Of coiu^e 
the matter took an intensely poUtical ttun, and Houston had to 
face not only the opposition itself arising out of the fight with 
Stransberry, but also the hostility to General Jackson and his 
administration. The trial dragged along for a month and finally 
resulted that he be reprimanded by the Speaker, which the Speaker 

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166 Andrew Jackson and Early Thnnbssbb History 

executed by a little preliminary speech, in which the reason for 
the reprimand was stated, and he executed the command of the 
House in these words: 

"In obedience to the command of the House I reprimand 
you accordingly." 

President Jackson warmly backed up Houston, and, as. usual, 
spoke his mind in a very plain way. He said: 

"After a few more examples of the same kind members of 
Congress would learn to keep a civil tongue in their heads." 

But Stansberry and his friends and Jackson's enemies did 
not let the matter drop with a reprimand. Houston had been 
a member of Congress, and all ex-Congressmen are entitled 
to the privileges of the floor, and a motion was made that Houston 
be denied this privilege, but was defeated by a vote of ninety 
to one hundred and five. A committee was appointed, and 
Congressman Stansberry was a member of it, to investigate 
whether there was any fraud upon Houston's part in connection 
with the contract with the Indians, and Houston was duly acquitted. 

The next step against him was the prosecution in the Courts 
for the assault, and he was convicted and sentenced to pay a 
fine of five hundred dollars, which President Jackson took very 
little time to remit, and that ended the suit. 

Houston lost no friends by the assault on Stansberry for the 
reason that Stransberry's charge on the floor of the House was 
without basis in fact. Houston was guilty of no fraud con- 
nected with the contract, and at that day personal combat was 
a very common, not to say usual, way to decide difficulties. 
Houston was only armed with a hickory stick and Stansberry 
had a pistol, and Houston whipped him, and the sympathy of 
the day was with Houston* This brings up a very frequently 
disputed question whether there is any justification for the rule 
that a member of Congress shall not be held responsible for 
slanderous statements made in the course of debate. Congress- 
men are politicians, and politicians are not always truthful or 
honest, and the average citizen on the outside fails to see any 
real, substantial reason why a congressman shall be permitted 
to slander a citizen in the course of debate, and not be taken to 
task for it in any way whatever. It would seem that there is 
very considerable weight in the view of the average citizen. 

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^r r, 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 167 

flfW*M"B"»V"B"w"M*WVVVy«V!lrt i ;yK?Sl*'K"HSSV'll?lrtlVVSl^^ 

Jackson, Houston and Texas. 

iV^bdbi!bLVaA5?g 9 g9^ 

Houston entered Texas December 10th, 1832, and that entry 
was big with events not only for himself, but for Texas and the 
people of the United States. He went there to take part in the 
Texas Revolution, with the advice and consent of Andrew Ja<i- 
son, and these two had in mind at that early date the annexation 
of the empire of Texas to the American Union — Texas with its 
268,684 miles of territory, and with resources since exhibited by 
actual development, almost beyond computation. It is doubtless 
true that it was in the minds of many men that sooner or later 
Texas might become a part of the United States. The white 
settlei^ in it were mostly from the South, and many of them from 
Tennessee, and they were generally in sympathy with General 
Jackson and his administration. In looking about over the high- 
ways and byWa)rs of history, we are led to inquire whether two 
men ever did more for their coimtry than Jackson and Houston 
did for the United States in leading the movement to add Texas 
to the American Union. While it is true that Jackson has all 
the name and fame that his great achievements demand, history 
has not done Sam Houston justice ; and one of the objects of intro- 
ducing his life into this book with Jackson, is to show that Hous- 
ton's achievement in Texas was phenomenally great, and that 
whatever one may think of his wes^esses, like his vanity and 
his drinking, in spite of these, he is entitled to be ranked among 
the great men of America; and that, in actual results achieved, 
which are beyond historical question, he deserves to rank as one 
of the great benefactors of the American people. He was the lib- 
erator of Texas, and has alwajrs been so regarded by that great State. 
There are spots on the sun, but that great Ituninary is still the 
source of light; there are spots on Houston, but he is still a great 
man. We were never able to see the justice or logic of minimizing 
and discounting a great man's achievements on accoimt of some 

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168 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

personal fault or mistake or weakness. The proper estimate of 
a man who is great in spite of blunders, faults and weaknesses is, 
that he is the greater because he rises superior to such draw- 
backs and accomplishes great things. During the Civil War 
it was currently understood that Ulysses S. Grant, who 
led the Union forces, was accustomed to get drunk, yet, in 
one of the greatest contests the world ever saw. Grant led his 
forces to ultimate victory. It is the simple truth to say that every 
man mankind is accustomed to call great, had his weak points, 
his traits that were subject to criticism; but the world, with both 
justice and logic, has not permitted great deeds to be entirely 
overshadowed by defects of character or mistakes of judgment, 
however far its appreciation of merits may fall short of what is 
legitimately due. Houston has failed to receive his due, but in 
this latter day he is gradually coming into his own, and profoundly 
convinced as we are that his achievement in bringing about the 
independence of Texas and its annexation, is one of the great 
events in the history of America, hope that this contribu- 
tion to his fame will be only one of many that will finally place 
him as a patriot and a public benefactor little, if any, below 
Andrew Jackson himself. 

Texas, at that time, had a population of white people estimated 
at about twenty thousand, and the State was a Mexican province, 
and treated by the Mexicans as such. 

Stephen F. Austin was called by Houston **The Father of 
Texas,*' and he deserved the honor because of his continued efforts 
in introducing white population into the State. It is imdoubtedly 
true that the Texas of that date contained many refugees of the 
criminal classes from the United States, but it also contained 
sturdy, strong, law-abiding pioneers, in whom hospitality was 
bom, and kindness between man and man an impulse of the 
heart. Like all pioneers, their life was simple and devoid of 
luxuries. They lived in a large measure on venison, bear meat 
and other game, and instead of a mill, groimd their com in a hol- 
lowed log. They traveled into Texas on horseback and came 
with ox teams for a thousand miles. It sounds strange in our 
ears at this time that a man would start to Texas and might lay 
over and raise a crop of com, and, with that as a means of 
support, resiune his journey. In physical health, strength and 
courage, they were among the best types of manhood. They 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 169 

belonged to the Daniel Boone class, and were like early settlers 
of Tennessee who ntme upon the Watauga and the Cumber- 
land, and there laid the foundation of the future Volunteer State. 

Alfred M. Williams, who wrote a Life of Houston, gives the 
Reverend C. N. Morrell as authority for the statement that 
Houston had expressed a purpose to one Deacon Mcintosh of 
Nashville, as early as 1830, of his intention to establish a ** two- 
horse republic" in Texas, and to be its first President. There 
was evidently an idea among the settlers that a conflict would come 
between them and Mexico sooner or later, and in 1832 at a meet- 
ing it was proposed to invite General Sam Houston or General 
WiUiam Carroll of Tennessee to take the lead in any movement 
that might arise. That Houston went to Texas with authority 
from President Jackson to make treaties with the Comanche 
and other Indians is beyond question. And it is equally beyond 
question that there was an understanding between him and Gen- 
eral Jackson that he was to examine into, and to report to Jackson 
the conditions prevailing, and the feeling of the pioneers in refer- 
ence to seceding from Mexico, and becoming annexed to the 
United States. He carried with him a passport. 

Alfred M. Williams tells a story that is worth repeating in 
reference to Houston's journey into Texas, which we quote: 

**There are various stories told of the incidents of Houston's 
departure from the Indian Territory and journey to Texas. One, 
told by Major Elias Rector — known in the Southwest as *The Fine 
Arkansas Gentleman,' is that Houston, Major Arnold Harris 
and himself, traveled together through southeastern Arkansas. 
Houston wasmoimted on a little Indian pony very disproportion- 
ate to his stature. The constant subject of Houston's conversation 
was the ignoble appearance he would make on such an animal, 
and he earnestly appealed to Harris to exchange his fine large 
horse for it. Said he — 

" 'This d — d bob-tailed pony is a disgrace. He is continually 
fighting flies, and has no means of protecting himself, and his 
kicks and contortions render his rider ridiculous. I shall be the 
laughter of all Mexico. I require a steed with his natural 
weapon, a flowing tail, that he may defend himself against his 
enemies as his master has done. Harris, you must trade.' 

•'The terms of the exchange were finally made, and Houston 
recovered his dignity and good humor as the possessor of the 
broom-tailed mare. When fiiey came to part. Rector took a razor 
from his saddlebags and presented it to Houston. Houston said — 

** 'Major Rector, this is apparently a gift of little value, but 
it is an inestimable testimony of the friendship which has lasted 

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170 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

many years, and proved steadfast under the blasts of calumny 
and injustice. Good-by. God bless you.^ When next you see 
this razor, it shall be shaving the President of a Republic.' " 

As stated, Houston entered Texas on December 10, 1832, and 
on February 13, 1833, he addressed a letter to General Jackson 
which is a document of the highest importance, and should be 
read by every one interested in the life of either Houston or Jackson. 
In two months and three days after he put his foot on Texas soil 
he was reporting to the President of the United States the con- 
ditions which he went there to investigate. 


**Natchitoches, La., February 13, 1833. 
"General Jackson: 

**Dear Sir — Having been as far as Bexar, in the province of 
Texas, where I had an interview with the Comanche Indians, 
I am in possession of some. information which will doubtless be 
interesting to you, and may be calculated to forward your views, 
if you should entertain any, touching the acquisition of Texas by 
the United States government. That such a measure is desired 
by nineteen twentieths of the population of the province, I cannot 
doubt. They are now without laws to govern or protect them. 
Mexico is involved in civil war. The Federal Constitution has 
never been in operation. The government is essentially despotic 
and must be so for years to come. The rulers have not honesty and 
the people have not intelligence. The people of Texas are deter- 
njined to form a State government and separate from Coahuila, 
and unless Mexico is soon restored to order, and the constitution 
revived and re-enacted, the province of Texas will remain separate 
from the Confederacy of Mexico. She has already beaten and 
repelled all the troops of Mexico from her soil, nor will she permit 
them to return. Her want of money, taken in connection with 
the course which Texas must and will adopt, will render the trans- 
fer of Texas to some power inevitable, and, if the United States 
does not press for it, England will most assiwedly obtain it by some 
means. Now is a very important crisis for Texas. As relates to 
her futiU'e prosperity and safety, as well as the relations which it 
is to bear to the United States, it is now in the most favorable atti- 
tude, perhaps, which it can be, to obtain it on fair terms. England 
is pressing her suit fpr it, but its citizens will resist, if any transfer 
is made of them to any power but the United States. I have 
traveled nearly five hundred miles across Texas, and am now en- 
abled to judge pretty correctly of the soil and resoufcfes of the 
country, and have no hesitancy in pronoimcing it the finest coim- 
try, for its extent, upon the globe; for the greaterp6rtion of it is 
richer and more healthy than West Tennessee. There can be no 
doubt that the country east of the river Grand of the North, would 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 171 

sustain a population of ten millions of souls. My opinion is that 
Texas, by her members in Convention, will, by the 1st of April, 
declare all that country as Texas proper, and form a State Con- 
stitution. I expect to be present at the Convention, and will ap- 
prise you of the com-se adopted as soon as the members have taken 
final action. It is probable that I may make Texas my abiding 
place. In adopting this course, I will never forget the country of 
my birth. I will notify from this point the Commissioners of the 
Indians at Fort Gibson of my success, which will reach you through 
the War Department. I have, with much pride and inexpressible 
satisfaction, seen your proclamation, touching the nullifiers of the 
South and their 'peaceful remedies.' God grant that you may 
save the Union. It does seem to me that it is reserved for you» 
and you alone, to render to millions so great a blessine.^ I hear 
all voices commend your course, even in Texas, where Is felt the 
greatest interest for the preservation of the Republic. Permit me 
to tender you my sincere thanks, felicitations, and most earnest 
solicitation for your health and happiness, and your future glory, 
connected with the prosperity of the Union. 
"Your friend and obedient servant, 


It is unnecessary in this sketch of Houston's life to give the 
details of the war of Independence in Texas. It is sufficient to say 
that events leading up to the war succeeded each other rapidly 
and that the demand by the Mexicans upon the town of Gonzales 
for a six-pounder cannon which the town had, and the refusal to 
give it up, constituted the first overt act in a course of events which 
resulted in making Texas a free and independent State. The 
Mexicans determined to take the cannon by force. Both parties 
drew up for battle, but the six-pounder was used by the Texans 
and the Mexicans fled, and this started the Revolution. Meetings 
were held in various parts of Texas; committees were organized; 
men were gotten together; armies were provided; and Sam Hous- 
ton was elected Commander-in-Chief and at once began organiz- 
ing his force. Stephen F. Austin made an appeal to all the citizens 
of Texas to join in the movement. The Battle of Concepcion soon 
followed, where the number of Mexican troops was estimated at 
four hundred, of whom sixty-seven were killed, and forty wounded. 
Combats of varying degrees of importance and varying fatality on 
the respective sides, went on from time to time, with the general 
result that the marksmanship of the Texans with their rifles was 
so superior to that of the Mexicans, that the smaller nimiber of the 
Texans was thereby made up and compensated for, and this marks- 
manship was what finally won the independence of the State. 

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172 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

On November 7, 1824, at a meeting of delegates to form a pro- 
visional government, a report was adopted provisionally declaring 
the independence of Texas from Mexico, and a constitution for the 
provisional government was adopted November 13th, 1824. Sam 
Houston was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Army imder its 
provisional government. As events proceeded, disorganization 
and conflict between officials entered, and affairs were in a bad way, 
and Santa Anna, the leader of the Mexicans seeing this, naturally 
began to consolidate his forces in Mexico, and to start in on the 
work of crushing all opposition to Mexican authorities in Texas. 
A band of Texans had taken possession of the Alamo, a mission 
chiu-ch which had been founded by the Franciscan Friars. The 
walls of the church were of stone, and five feet thick. The gar- 
rison at the Alamo was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel 
William Barrett Travis, who was a lawyer by profession, and a 
native of North Carolina. The garrison consisted of one himdred 
and forty-five men and had fourteen pieces of artillery. Colonel 
Travis not forseeing the direful fortune that was in store for him 
and his men, had failed to lay in a supply of com, and, altogether, 
he had less than one hundred bushels. Ranking next to Travis 
was Colonel James Bowie, from whom the Bowie knife takes its 
name. Colonel Bowie was a native of Georgia, and at one time 
fought a duel on a sand bar in the Mississippi River, where he was 
shot down, but drew his knife and slew his assailant. 

Santa Anna, with a force of men many times larger than the force 
in the Alamo, erected batteries,and trained them on the rock walls of 
the chiu-ch. Ammunition, like provisions, with the Texans, was 
very limited in quantity, and but for this it is probable that the Alamo 
could have held out and the slaughter of its inmates prevented. 

Colonel Travis among the heroes of history ranks with Leoni- 
das at Thermopyle. The Greek has no advantage of the 
Texan in the hall of historical fame. Each gave all that he had 
for the cause he was fighting for — each gave his life. 

Colonel Travis sent out an appeal for help which has the 
ring of a clarion call. 


**Commandency of the Alamo, 
**Bexar, February 24, 1836. 
"Fellow-Citizens and Patriots: 

**I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under 
Santa Anna. I have sustained a continued bombardment for 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 173 

twenty-four hours and have not lost a man. The enemy have 
demanded a surrender at discretion; otherwise the garrison is 
to be put to the sword if the place is taken. I have answered the 
summons with a cannon shot, and om* flag still waves proudly 
from the walls. / shall never surrender or retreat. Then I call 
on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism, and of ever)rthing 
dear to the American character, to come to oiu* aid with all 
dispatch. The enemy are receiving reinforcements daily, and 
will no doubt increase to three or foiu- thousand in four or five 
days. Though this call may be neglected, I am determined to 
sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never 
forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his coimtry. 
Victory or death! W. Barrett Travis, 

*Xieutenant-Colonel Commanding. 
"P. S. The Lord is on our side. When the army appeared 
in sight we had not three bushels of com. We have since found 
in deserted houses eighty or ninety bushels, and got into the walls 
twenty or thirty beeves." 

This appeal is among the State archives of Texas in the 
Capitol at Austin. 

Getting no response and no help, on the 3rd of March Colonel 
Travis made his last appeal for assistance : 

COLONEL Travis' last appeal. 

**I am still here, and in fine spirits and well-to-do. With 
145 men, I have held the place against a force variously esti- 
mated from between 1,500 to 6,000, and I shall continue to 
hold it until I get relief from my coimtrymen, or I will perish 
in its defense. We have had a shower of bombs and cannon 
balls continually falling among us the whole time; yet none of 
us have fallen. We have been miraculously preserved. . 
Again, I feel confident that the determined spirit and desperate 
courage heretofore exhibited by my men will not fail them in the 
last struggle, and, although they may be sacrificed to the ven- 
geance of a Gothic enemy, the victory will cost that enemy so 
dear it will be worse than a defeat. ... A blood-red flag 
waves from the church of Bexar and in the camp above us, in token 
that the war is one of vengeance against rebels. . . . These 
threats have had no influence upon my men but to make all 
fight with desperation, and with that high-souled coiu-age which 
characterizes the patriot who is willing to die in defense of his 
country, liberty and his honor; God and Texas; victory or death!*' 

On Sunday morning, March 6th, Santa Anna began what 
was to be a final and successful assault upon the Alamo. He 
had twenty-five hundred men who were supplied not only with 
guns and ammunition, but with axes and every fadhty for making 

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174 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

an entrance into a fortified place, like the Alamo Church. The 
Mexicans made the assault by storm, and gained an entrance, 
after which their work was soon over. It became a contest of 
clubbed rifles and bowie knives. Colonel Travis and David 
Crockett fell. Colonel Travis was shot while in the act of firing 
his pistols. The battle was over at an early hour in the morning 
and Santa Anna ordered that the bodies of the dead Texans 
be gathered together, piled with wood and dry brush and burned, 
and the bones were left imburied. Later on, the bones were 
collected together, placed in a coflSn, and buried with miUtary 
honors. The loss of the Mexicans is imcertain, but has been . 
placed as high as five hundred. No one was spared by the Mexi- 
cans except Mrs. Alsbury, Mrs. Dickenson and her child, a 
negro servant of Colonel Travis and a Mexican woman. Five 
men who had hidden themselves and were discovered, were 
brought into the presence of Santa Anna, who ordered their 
execution, and it was carried out. 

On March 1st, 1835, a convention was called of the citizens 
of Texas to consider total separation from Mexico, and on March 
2, 1835, a Declaration of Independence was adopted and set 
out the charges made by the people of Texas against Mexico. 
It said: "The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now de- 
crees our external poUtical separation. 

**We, therefore, the delegates, with plenary powers of the 
people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a 
candid world for the necessities of oiu- condition, do hereby 
resolve and declare that oiu- political connection with the Mexican 
nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now 
constitute a free, sovereign, and independent Republic, and are 
fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly 
belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude 
of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue 
to the Supreme Arbiter of the destinies of nations.** 

Sam Houston was re-elected Commander-in-Chief of the army, 
and D. G. Burnett was elected President of the provisional 
government of the new Republic. 

Unspeakable as was Santa Anna*s conduct in having executed 
the five men found in hiding at the Alamo, after all their com- 
panions had been killed, and infamous as was the Mexican char- 
acter there exhibited, there was worse to come at Goliad, where 
Colonel Fannin was in command of the forces in the town. After 
bloody fighting for a period long enough for scores of men to be 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 175 

killed, Colonel Fannin and his men realized that they would 
not be able to hold the town. There were about forty of the 
men who were disabled, but their comrades refused to abandon 
them, and continued their defense. Finally, conditions were such 
as to make a smrender necessary, if safe terms could be secured 
from the Mexican commander. Accordingly a surrender was 
made, and the terms agreed upon by which the Texans were to 
be treated as prisoners, according to the usages of surrendered 
prisoners in war; but the terms of a capitulation did not bind 
the conscience of the Mexican commander, and all of the prisoners 
were executed, and thus there was added the butchery of Goliad 
to the butchery of the Alamo. Three hundred and twenty men 
were massacred by the Mexicans. 

But the time was near at hand when Mexican power in Texas 
was to be a thing of the past, and when the butcheries of the 
Texans were to be avenged at San Jacinto, and Texas declared 
an independent Republic. 

The engagement commonly called the Battle of San Jacinto 
can hardly be called a battle at all; it was more of a butchery 
by the Texans of the Mexican army. The generalship) of Houston 
had been a masterly retreat until he found conditions for a 
successful battle just as he wanted them, and these conditions 
combined to his satisfaction at San Jacinto, and here he decided 
to fight. In order that there might be no opportimity for either 
army to retreat, Houston ordered the bridge leading to the 
battlefield to be cut down by Deaf Smith, one of his soldiers 
from New York, who was one of the most fearless and gallant 
men in his army. After the bridge was destroyed. Deaf Smith, 
under instructions, rode along the line of the army, loudly an- 
nouncing: "You must fight for your lives — ^Vince's bridge has 
been cut down.** Of course, the army knew that this meant a 
fight to the death, and they accepted it as such. April 21st, 
1836, was the day of the battle. 

Houston had seven hundred and forty-three men, and the 
Mexicans about fourteen hundred, of whom six hundred and 
thirty were killed and more than two himdred wounded, and the 
rest taken prisoner. Large quantities of booty were taken, con- 
sisting of Mexican sabres, pistols, and small arms, besides several 
hundred horses and mules, and other military equipment. Twelve 
thousand dollars in silver was also taken, which was distributed 

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176 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

among the soldiers of the army, Houston refusing to take any 
part of it, whatever. 

Santa Anna was taken while attempting to escape in disguise, 
and was brought into the presence of Houston, who held him 
as a prisoner. The reader will wonder why Houston did 
not order the immediate execution of Santa Anna when he was 
captured, and every instinct of human nature demands that 
this should have been done. There is only one reason given by 
Houston that could justify him in allowing the monster to still 
cumber the ground, and that was that the execution of Santa 
Anna would lead to the execution by the Mexicans of every person 
in their possession taken from the Texan forces. 

Houston, himself, was shot in the ankle, and incapacitated 
for further service, and in taking his leave of his army he ad- 
dressed them this message: 


*' Headquarters, San Jacinto, May 5, 1836. 

''Comrades! — Circimistances connected with the battle of the 
21st render oiu: separation for the present unavoidable. I need 
not express to you the many painful sensations which that sepa- 
ration inflicts upon me. I am solaced, however, by the hope that 
we shall soon be reunited in the cause of liberty. Brigadier- 
General Rusk is appointed to command the army for the present. 
I confide in his valor, his patriotism, his wisdom. His conduct 
in the battle of San Jacinto was sufficient to seciu'e your con- 
fidence and regard. 

**The enemy, although retreating, are still within the limits 
of Texas; their situation being known to you, you cannot be 
taken by surprise. Discipline and subordination will render you 
invincible. Your valor and heroism have proved you unrivaled. 
Let not contempt for the enemy throw you off" yoiu: guard. 
Vigilance is the first duty of the soldier, and glory the proudest 
reward of his toils. 

"You have patiently endured privations, hardships, and 
difficulties unappalled; you have encountered two to one of the 
enemy against you, and borne yourselves in the onset and con- 
flict of battle in a manner imknown in the annals of modem 
warfare. While an enemy to independence remains in Texas 
your work is incomplete; but when liberty is firmly established 
by your patience and your valor, it will be fame enough to say, 
*I was a member of the army of San Jacinto.' 

**In taking leave of my brave comrades in arms,I cannot suppress 
the expression of that pride which I so justly feel in having had 
the honor to command them in person, nor will I withold the 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 177 

tribute of my warmest admiration and gratitude for the prompt- 
ness with which my orders were executed, and union maintained 
through the army. At parting my heart embraces you with 
gratitude and affection. 

"SAM HOUSTON, Commander-in-Chief." 

Political controversy followed Houston all his life, and 
afterwards, when he became a candidate for official position, 
the charge was made against him of cowardice, and that he 
fought the battle of San Jacinto because his men demanded 
that he fight, that they would get another commander if he did 
not. The reader will decide that this charge is without 
foundation in fact, and, in his mind, the destruction of Vince*s 
Bridge will settle that question. If Houston was a coward, it is 
impossible to imgaine him ordering Deaf Smith to destroy that 
bridge, the destruction of which meant that one army or the 
other would be wiped oflF the map of Texas. It was a fight of 
annihilation of one force or the other. Cowardly men do not 
make those kinds of movements. 

Houston was finally taken to New Orleans for medical treat- 
ment and his recovery was slow. 

The next turn of events in Texas was the proclamation issued 
by Provisional President Burnett on the 23rd of Jujy, 1836, for 
an election to be held September 1st, for a President and Con- 
gress, by which Texas was to become permanently independent. 
Sam Houston was a candidate for President and received 4,374 
votes, Henry Smith 745 votes, and Stephen G. Austin, 587 votes. 
Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected Vice President. The voters 
were practically unanimous in favor of annexation to the United 
States. Congress met October 3, 1836, and President Houston 
assumed his office October 22, 1836, and so he who had liberated 
Texas at the battle of San Jacinto, became the first President of 
the new permanent RepubHc. 

This new Republic knocked several times at the doors of 
the United States before it was admitted into the Union. Its 
admission took a political turn, connected with the question of 
slavery. It was very evident that Texas would become a great 
cotton-growing State, and, out of its territory it was possible 
to carve four or five States. The anti-slavery sentiment in the 
United States fought its admission, and it was delayed until 
October 14, 1845, when the "Lone Star State'* ceased to be the 
RepubUc of Texas. 

12— vol.2 

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178 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Under the constitution of the Republic of Texas, the President 
could not hold two terms in succession, so that when Houston's 
first term expired, Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected President 
and served one term. Lamar assumed the office December 8, 

At the expiration of Lamar's term, Houston was again a 
candidate for President, and received 7,415 votes, and David G. 
Burnett, 3,616 votes, so Houston for the second time assumed 
the office on December 16, 1841. 

Houston's second wife, whom he married May ^th, 1840, was 
Miss Margaret MoflFette Lea, of Marion, Alabama, as stated in 
Mrs. Wallace's paper. He was then forty-seven years of age, 
and Miss Lea, twenty-one. This young lady accompUshed that 
which many women set out to accomplish when they marry, 
namely, to reform a husband. In the course of time her in- 
fluence was strong enough to cause Houston to abandon the 
habits of drinking and swearing to which he had been addicted 
all bis life. 

A remarkable thing, one that the reader will wonder at, is 
that Houston's management of the finances of the Republic of 
Texas during his two terms as President were highly successful, 
and exhibited "a capacity that no one, prior to his presidential 
terms, would have suspected him of possessing. He developed 
into a safe, strong, able, far-sighted and clear-headed financier in 
the handling of the Republic's monetary affairs, and this, too, 
when he never cared for money on his personal account, and 
dield a poor man, with only a little home to leave to his wife and 
children. Dtuing his long and successful career, if he had been 
disposed to be corrupt, he had opportunities to acquire wealth. 
His death in practical poverty is one of the greatest tributes to 
his great character, and this, with his perfect personal and official 
integrity, will be a substantial influence toward leading history 
to place him among the great men of America. 

Sam Houston and Thomas J. Rusk were the first Senators 
from the new State of Texas in tie Congress of the United States, 
and Houston was sworn in as a Senator March 30, 1846, and at 
the end of his term he was re-elected in January, 1853. 

The agitation leading up to the war between the States began 
to manifest itself, and became a political issue in all State elections. 
Houston took the Union side of the controversy in Texas, and be- 
came a candidate for Governor, and was elected in 1859, receiving 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 179 

36,257 votes, and his competitor, Runnels, 27,500 votes, and he 
was inaugurated as Governor on December 21, 1859. But the 
sentiment of Texas was in favor of seceding from the Union, and 
although in sentiment Houston was opposed to secession, he, like 
scores of the most prominent men in the South, who, opposed 
to secession, but holding their obligations to their States para- 
mount, Houston announced that he would go with Texas; one of 
his sons became a soldier in the Confederate Army, and Houston 
ceased his opposition to the secession movement. 

He resigned the office of Governor on March 21, 1861, and died 
on July 26th, 1863, age seventy years, at his home in Himtsville, 
Texas, and he was there buried. His will was dated April 2, 1863. 

The Legislature of Texas paid Mrs. Houston the sum of $1,700 
the salary that he would have received, had he filled out his term 
of Governor. 


The Honorable Joseph W. Bailey was a meniber of Congress 
from the Gainesville District in Texas for ten years, following 
which he was a United States Senator fipm Texas for twelve years. 
In January, 1906, he delivered a speech in the Senate upon the 
subject of "Texas — An Undivided Unit,'* and the following para- 
graphs from it may be taken as the sentiment of the people of 
that largest of American States: 

"But, Mr. President, while from her proud eminence today 
Texas looks upon a future as bright with promise as ever beckoned 
a people to follow where fate and fortune lead, it is not so much the 
promise of the future as it is the memory of the glorious past which 
appeals to her against division. She could partition her fertile 
valleys and broad prairies, she could apportion her thriving towns 
and growing cities, she could distribute her splendid population 
and wonderful resources, but she could not divide the fadeless 
glories of those days that are past and gone. To which of her 
daughters, Sir, could she assign, without irreparable injustice to 
all the others, the priceless inheritance of the Alamo, Goliad, and 
San Jacinto ? To which could she bequeath the fame of Houston, 
Austin, Fannin, Bowie and Crockett? Sir, the fame of these men, 
and their less illustrious but not less worthy comrades, cannot be sev- 
ered. Their names are written upon the tablets of her grateful 
memory so that all time shall not efface them. The story of their 
mighty deeds, which rescued Texas from the condition of a despised 
and oppressed Mexican province and made her a free and inde- 
pendent Republic, still rouses the blood of her men like the sound 
of a trumpet, and we would not forfeit the right to repeat it to our 
children for many additional seats in this august assembly. 

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180 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"The world has never seen a sublimer courage or a more un- 
selfish patriotism than that which illuminates almost every page 
in the early history of Texas. Students may know more atx)ut 
other battlefields, but none is consecrated with the blood of braver 
men than those who fell at Goliad. Historians may not record it 
as one of the decisive battles of the world, but the victory of the 
Texans at San Jacinto is destined to exert a greater influence upon 
the happiness of the human race than all the conflicts that estab- 
lished or subverted the petty kindgoms of the ancient world. Poets 
may not yet have immortalized it with their enduring verse, but 
the Alamo is more resplendent with her heroic sacrifice than was 
Thermopylae itself, because while 'Thermopylae had its messenger 
of defeat, the Alamo had none.* 

**Mr. President, if I may be permitted to borrow Webster's 
well-known apostrophe to Liberty and Union, I would say of Texas : 
She is one and inseparable, now and forever." 

IN statuary hall, CAPITOL, WASHINGTON. 

By Act of Congress July 2d, 1864, the President of the United 
States was authorized : 

"To invite each and all of the States to provide and furnish 
statues in marble or bronze, not exceeding two in number, for each 
State, of deceased persons who have been citizens thereof, and 
illustrious for their historic renown or from distinguished civic or 
military service, such as each State shall determine to be worthy 
of this national commemoration, and when so furnished, the same 
shall be placed in the old Hall of the House of Representatives in 
the Capitol of the United States, which is hereby set apart, or so 
much thereof as may be necessary, as National Statuary Hall for 
the ptuposes herein indicated." 

On March 25, 1904, Representative Burleson, of Texas, offered 
House Conciurent Resolution Number 53, granting the privilege 
of placing in Statuary Hall of the Capitol the statues made by the 
sculptor Elizabeth Ney of Texas, of Sam Houston and Steven F. 
Austin, both of whom were citizens of Texas, said resolution being 
pursuant to the Act of 1864. 

On January 20th, 1905, Representative Cooper, of Texas, pre- 
sented a resolution that the exercises appropriate to the reception 
and acceptance from the State of Texas of the statues of Sam 
Houston and Stephen F. Austin placed in Statuary Hall in the 
Capitol, be made the special order for Sattuday, the 25th of Feb- 
ruary, at 3 o'clock P. M., and on that date the exercises were held 
and speeches made by eleven representatives, seven from Texas, 
two from Tennessee, one from Arkansas and one from Missouri. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 181 

The Representative Clark of Missouri, making an address, was 
the present Speaker Champ Clark of the House of Representatives, 
and the Representatives from Tennessee were the Honorable 
Henry R. Gibson, of Knoxville, and the Honorable James D. 
Richardson, of Mrufreesboro. The addresses of the Tennessee 
representatives were as eulogistic and inspiring as those made by 
the members from Texas. While it is true that Houstion's great- 
est achievements were made in the Lone Star Stat^, the Volunteer 
State made him Governor, and bestowed other high honors on him, 
and has a very strong claim to call him one of her sons. 

Representative Gibson said in part: **Mr. Speaker: When- 
ever and wherever there is an assemblage of people to do homage 
to the name of Sam Houston, Tennessee enters her appearance 
and claims the right to tender her tribute to his name, and deposit 
her wreath in his honor. Tennessee received Houston to her bosom ' 
while he was yet in his infancy and trained him up to manhood, and 
bestowed her honors upon him, fitting him to perform the part 6f 
the star actor on that grand Texan stage where his audience was 
the whole world, and his triumphs established, first, an independent 
nation, and afterwards added another star to the great American 
constellation and a new page of glory to the grand volume of human 
freedom. ♦****♦******♦** ♦ 

"Having seen Houston when I was a boy, I feel constrained 
to say that the marble statue of him we are this day accepting, 
while probably picturing him in his youth, does not do full justice 
to the magnificent physique he possessed when in after days he 
became the hero of two nations. Hquston was a man of majestic 
proportions, and wherever he went, he never failed to impress 
all beholders with the conV!ction that he was one of the giants 
of the eartfh. His appearance is thus described by one who 
heard hi^ speak at Galveston a few dayk before Texas joined the 

** *There he stood, an old man of seventy years, on a platform 
ten feet above the heads of the thousands assembled to hear 
him, where every eye could scan his magnificent form six feet 
three inches high, straight as an arrow, with deep-set and pene- 
trating eyes, looldng out from heavy and thundering eyebrows, a 
high, open forehead, with something of the infinite intellectual 
thereon, crowned with while locks partly erect, and a voice of 
the deep basso tone, which shook and commanded the soul of 
the hearer; added to all this, a powerful manner, made up of 
deliberation, self-possession and restrained majestic action, leaving 
the hearer impressed with the feeling that more of his power was 
hidden than revealed.* *' 

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182 Andrew Jackson and Eari,y Tbnnessbb History 

Representative Richardson said in part: "This was the first 
instance in our history that a State has been admitted as such 
without having first gone through a probationary term as a 
territory. This accession to our territory was under President 
Polk's Administration, and it was characterized by him as a 
bloodless achievement. He said no army of force had been 
raised by the United States to produce the result; that the sword 
had no part in the victory; that we had not sought to extend our 
territorial possessions by conquest, or oiu* republican institutions 
over a reluctant people. It was the deliberate homage of each 
people to the great principles of our confederate union. If we 
consider the extent of the territory involved in the annexation, 
its prospective influence on America, the means by which it has 
been accomplished, springing purely from the choice of the people 
themselves to share the blessings of oiu- Union, the history of 
the world may be challenged to fmnish a parallel.'* 

In 1860 when the Constitution — Union — Party met in Balti- 
more the contest for the Presidential nomination was between 
John Bell of Tennessee and Sam Houston, of Texas. The Ten- 
nessee delegation, with the exception of Colonel A. S. Colyar, 
of Nashville, were for Mr. Bell, Col. Colyar being for Sam Houston 
on the ground that, in his opinion, he could be elected, and John 
Bell could not. The Texas delegation and the delegation from 
New York were unanimously for Houston, and the race was 
close. Bell's friends put up Gustavus A. Henry, known as the 
Eagle Orator of Tennessee, and his speech for the "Union, the 
Constitution, and Enforcement of the Laws" was a great eflfort. 
Col. Colyar says, in his "Life of Jackson," that "it carried the 
Convention off its feet." The vote was taken, and on the de- 
ciding ballot. Bell received sixty-eight and one-half votes, and 
Houston fifty-seven, giving Bell a majority of eleven and one- 
half votes. 


Colonel John B. Brownlow, of Knoxville, who is a mine of 
information and reminiscences that would prove invaluable to 
history writers if put in available printed form, and whose mind 
in his seventy-ninth year is as dear and accurate as at fifty, 
can look back to the age of fourteen when he met and talked 
with General Sam Houston in Knoxville, and can also give a 
conversation he had about Houston with Judge John V. Wright, 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 183 

the Democratic nominee for Governor of Tennessee in the year 
1880, when the Democratic party split on the State debt question. 
From the attractive way Colonel Brownlow as a boy said 
handsome thihgs to General Houston about the battle of San 
Jacinto, we are led to conclude that even at that early age 
the Colonel had the skill and address of a veteran diplomat and 
courtier, who knew how to penetrate the armor even of great 
men with flatterifig words. Referring to his call on Houston 
and his conversation with Judge Wright, he says: 

"About 1853 General Sam Houston was on his way from his 
home in Texas to take his seat in the Senate at Washington, and 
stopped in Knoxville on his way to visit his sister who lived in 
Maryville, who was the wife of General William Wallace of 
Bloimt Coimty. Hearing that he was in Knoxville at the old 
Lamar House, comer of Cumberland and Gay Streets, where 
the Bijou Theatre now stands, I called at once to see him. He 
was in the comer room on the second floor. It was a big room, 
and the same room in which Andrew Jackson received the people, 
and later General Felix K. Zollicoffer and General John C. 
Breckenridge occupied this same room. I found eight or ten 
gentlemen there, including, I remember distinctly, the Honorable 
William G. Swan, later a member of the Confederate Congress, 
and Columbus Powell. I knocked on the door — at that time I 
had never had a visiting card — I was but fourteen years old — 
and he said 'Come in.* In response to the *Come in' I walked 
in and General Houston arose. I remember Mr. Swan made a 
start to introduce me to Houston, but he, with a smile, asked me 
tb take a seat. I asked pardon for intermpting, but he insisted 
that I take a seat. I said: 

** 'Excuse me. General Houston, for interrupting in this way, 
but as soon as I heard you were here, I wanted to see you. It 
win be a source of pleasure to me in future to remember that 
I had the honor of shajdng hands with the hero of San Jadnto.* 

**The gentlemen present smiled at that, and the old General 
smiled and said: 'Then you have read of San Jacinto?* 

"I said, ^General Houston, any Tennessee boy who is as old 
as I am, who has not read of San Jacinto, ought to be ashamed 
of himself.' They all laughed heartily at that. I said: 'Gen- 
eral, that was one of the greatest battles ever fought in the world!* 

"He spoke deprecatingly, and sa(i|fi: 'There have been a great 
many battles fought, my son, where there were a hundred times 
as many people engaged as in that.* 

" 'Yes,* I said, 'there were more men in Napoleon*s battles, 
and in the battles of the Revolution, and in the War of 1812, but 
you made such a clean job of it. General. You killed every 
Greaser you did not capture, and won the independence of Texas. 
You only had a few men, and Santa Anna had thousands, and 

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184 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

you captured every Greaser you did not kill, including Santa Anna; 
you came mighty near wiping them out.' 

**I started to leave then, and he gave me a very cordial invi- 
tation if I ever was in Texas to be his guest, to call and see him, 
which I told him I certainly would do." 

**The Honorable John V. Wright, who was a member of the 
United States Congress in 1855-1861, and a member of the Con- 
federate Congress during the war, and the Democratic nominee 
for Governor of Tennessee in 1880 when Hawkins was elected, and 
whose father had served in the same regiment with Houston at the 
battle of the Horseshoe, where Houston was three times woimded, 
was in Washington on the day that Stephen A. Douglas intro- 
duced his bill to repeal the Missouri Compromise, and told me 
that on that evening he called to see General Houston, anxious to 
hear his oJ>iilionof Douglas' action, and found in Houston's room 
the correspondents of several metropolitan papers of the country, 
who had called for the same purpose he had. Judge Wright 
said that Houston was excitedly walking the floor, cursing Douglas 
as an unprincipled little demagogue who had opened Pandora's 
box, out of which untold evils would be flooded upon the coimtry; 
that to be President of the United States he would see the coimtry 
deluged with blood from one end to the other; that he had intro- 
duced that bill, thinking it would promote his chances as a Presi- 
dential aspirant, but he had overreached himself in his vaulting 
ambition. *Now,' Houston said, *I make a prediction. You 
will remember, gentlemen, that in 1848 Martin Van Buren was 
the anti-slavery candidate for the Presidency, and received three 
hundred thousand votes; on account of the passage of the com- 
promise measures of Mr. Clay in 1850, the anti-davery vote of 
the country cast for John P. Hale of New Hampshire was just 
one-half of that, one hundred and fifty thousand. Now, I pre- 
dict that the next House of Representatives to be elected next 
year (1855) will be Republican, or very close, and that the next 
Republican candidate for President, if not elected, will come very 
near it; and I also predict that the Democractic party at the 
next election (1856) will not dare nominate Douglas, nor any 
man who favored this repeal, because he cannot carry the North, 
and they can't nominate any man who opposed the repeal, be- 
cause he cannot carry the cotton States, but they will nominate 
some damned fellow who had nothing to do with this agitation.' 

**Sure enough, as Houston predicted, they nominated a man 
who had nothing to do with it, James Buchanan, who was the 
Minister of the United States at London. All of his predictions 
came true. New York gave an immesne majority for Fremont, 
who would have been elected, could he have carried Pennsylvania. 
Pennsylvania gave Buchanan five thousand plurality, he being a 
native of that state. It was a triangular contest. Millard Fil- 
more, ex-President, was the nominee of the American party, with 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 185 

Andrew J. Donelson, a nephew of Mrs. Andrew Jackson, and for- 
merly Secretary to General Jackson, for Vice-president. 

**I remember the letter Honprable Horace Ma)mard wrote to 
my father, that he had been sure that Freemont would carry Penn- 
sylvania, but a few days before the election the manufacturers, the 
merchants, the bankers, and the business men of the Whig party, 
seeing that the contest was really between Freemont and Buchanan 
in sufficient numbers old Whigs voted for Buchanan to elect him, 
because they feared if Freemont were elected we would have Civil 
War, and business would be destroyed.*' 


Contemporary estimates of Houston are the most desirable, 
and if this generation were so fortunate as to find still living, one 
who personally knew him, and especially who knew him well, such 
person's opinion would interest us profoundly; and, fortimately, 
we have two estimates from personal acquaintances of Houston. 

William E. Ctutis, correspondent of the Chicago Record-Her- 
ald, in 1911 proctu-ed from Judge Norman Kittrell of Texas his 
reminiscences of the first President of the Lone Star State. Mr. 
Ciu^is published these reminiscences in the Chicago Record-Her- 
ald. Of all the pen pictures made of Sam Houston, we know of 
none that are more life-like, and which depict the real man — not 
Houston the hero of San Jacinto — not Houston scaling the breast- 
works at the Horseshoe — but Houston with all of his gallantry and 
vanity and dress and humor and kindliness in his contact with his 

Judge Kittrell says: **He was the first and only man I had 
ever seen who had been in battle, or commanded an army, and my 
father taught me to respect and honor him. I recall how, as a boy 
in knee trousers, I gazed upon him with awe and veneration; my 
father and he lived as near neighbors; my mother and Mrs. Hous- 
ton were educated at the same institution, and married in the same 
town, and she always greeted him with the utmost cordiality. It 
seems to me that I can see him now, as he used to come down the 
walk under the cedars from the front gate to our house, walking 
as erectly as if his age were one score, instead of more than three 
score years. As he drew near the front door, he would remove his 
broad-brimmed fur hat, and lay it on his left arm. He carried his 
buggy whip in his left hand, and as he ascended the steps my 
mother would meet him. Extending his right hand, on which were 
usually two or three seal rings, he would take my mother's hand, 

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186 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnessbb History 

and bending with chivalric courtesy and dignity until his lips al- 
most touched her finger tips, would say, with his characteristic 
deliberation and distinctness : 

** *My lady, I am diarmed to meet you again. It is always a 
pleasure to meet you, and become a guest in your hospitable house. 
Mrs. Houston bade me bring you assurance of her love.' 

"His manner and bearing were the very impersonation of court- 
ly grace, yet there were many who believed, and, perhaps, there 
are those who think so yet, that he was a boor and a lout, unfamil- 
iar with the requirements of refined society and good breeding. 

"He was an able man, a man of intellectual power; a man en- 
dowed with the elements of successful leadership, and with the 
ability to persuade and convince, and command confidence. He 
was a man of majestic and impressive appearance — one upon whom 
God had written in lines that all men could read : 'Behold a man. * 
It has been said of him, as it has been said of another, that had he 
been cast ashore on an island in midocean, the inhabitants would 
have chosen him chief. 

"Few men have been so hated, and so beloved; so bitterly as- 
sailed, and so warmly defended. If he unduly cherished hate for 
his enemies, he also loved his friends deeply. His was an intense 
nature. He was a man of strong convictions; his convictions were 
his own, and were not for sale for votes or oflBce. He had no po- 
litical weather gauge to detect the varying winds of public senti- 
ment. He belonged to himself, essentially; he knew no boss, he 
followed no leader — he led. 

"He was responsive to the tenderest, the sweetest, purest in- 
fluences that can afifect human character or conduct. There was 
never a more devoted or considerate husband, and the wife who 
said she married him because he won her heart, and would be 
proud to be the insrtument of his reform, found him so amenable 
to the influences of her refinement, cultiu-e, wifely devotion, and 
consecrated Christian character, tliat he put aside forever the 
intoxicating cup. 

"In pursuance to a resolution of Congress, he, then Governor 
Houston, was arrested and brought before the bar of the House 
of Representatives, the trial, interrupted by the regular business, 
lasting more than a month. The historical account of the pro- 
ceeding, and that given by General Houston, very nearly correspond. 
I regret that it is not possible to reproduce the tone and manner 
of the old man as he gave his version to my father, but his inimit- 
able voice, and humor, mingled with his unfailing dignity, elude 

" *Well, my friend,* he said, 'they were trying me for about a 
month, but I did not pay much attention to the proceedings, as I 
had been assured that when the evidence was all in, I would be 
allowed to appear before the House in person in my own behalf, 
if I so desired. So I prepared myself, at least in the matter of 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari<y Tennbssbb History 187 

costume, for that day when it should arrive. I had my tailor make 
a coat of the finest material, reaching almost to my knees, trousers 
in harmony in color, and the latest style in cut, with a white satin 
vest to match, and I was ready with a garb befitting the occasion. 

'* *One afternoon I was notified that I would be permitted to 
speak in my own defense the next morning. When I awoke before 
day, I took a cup of coffee, but it refused to stick. I took another, 
but it would not stay with me, for, to tell you the truth, my friend, 
I had been very drunk. After something like an hotu* had passed, 
I took another cup of coffee, and it stuck; I said, **I am all right," 
and I proceeded to array myself in my splendid apparel. While 
I had been a member of Congress, a whole lot of those fellows had 
never seen me. They had heard of me as an Indian fighter and 
frontiersman. As they had been told that I wore often the cos- 
tume of a savage, they verily expected me to come clothed in the 
skins of wild beasts, and to see a barbarian, who, for a brief time, 
was a sojotuner in the midst of civilized people; but when I ap- 
peared, arrayed in the most skilful, product of the sartorial art, 
bowing to an acquaintance first upon this side, then upon that, as 
I moved down the Hall, upon my word, a hum of admiration filled 
the hall. I proceeded to speak in my own defense, and, turning to 
one member who had been especially ofBcious and offensive in his 
zeal against me, I said, *'And darest thou, thou whited sepulcher, 
to asperse the name and fame of Sam Houston ?*' They convicted 
me, of coiu-se, and condemned me to be reprimanded by the 
Speaker. The Speaker said, "Governor Houston, I am directed 
by tihe vote of the House to reprimand you; consider yourself rep- 
rimanded." He bowed and I bowed and the farce was over.* 

"There was a twinkle of triumph in the eyes of the old man as 
he remembered not only how lightly the House of Representatives 
of the United States had dealt with him, but that it had declined 
to deny him the privilege of the floor, to which he was entitled as 
an ex-member." 


Henry Watterson, of the Louisville Courier- Journal, has prob- 
ably a wider acquaintance with public men than any other citizen 
ever had, either in th,is or preceding generations of the RepubUc. 
He has been thrown in contact with public men, questions, and 
affairs, all of a .long life, and was living in Washington at the 
time of the annexation of Texas to the United States. He has 
said this about Houston: 

**I was but a child when Texas came into the Union, but I 
grew vup at Washington with a Texas surrounding, and under 
Texan influences, and I absorbed the story of the Lone Star 
from those who had made it; listened to the heroic legend from 
the heroes themselves; heard all the inside history of the trans- 

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188 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

actions which preceded and led to the final annexation from 
original sources; and, to me at least, the theme is yet an inspiration. 

**Nor is it without its application to contemporary affairs, 
and therefore a certain instruction, not irrelevant or uncurrent. 
It throws some light upon the present situation; though of course 
the bee in our bonnet in those old dajrs was the institution of 
African slavery, which colored all our politics. We were not a 
world power, as we now are. We were still a bucolic republic, 
the democratic party the expansionist of the period, the whigs 
the obstructives; manifest destiny being the cue, because it pointed 
southward, and promised more slave States. Truly it is a imi- 
versal lesson in human natiwe whose ox happens to be gored. 
John Tyler thought he would win great glory by bringing in Texas, 
just as Theodore Roosevelt thought about taking a short cut, 
via Panama, to the Isthmian canal. What was it Burns said 
about *the best laid plans o' mice and men?' for Tyler went the 
limit, and I have half a mind to believe Roosevelt is already 
beginning to be sick of his bargain with little Vanilla Bean and 
the rest of them. 

''However, that sotmds like pohtics, and we are, you and I, 
dear reader, talking sense, not politics. 

"Houston was easily the genius, the master spirit, of the 
Texan epic. He has received scant justice from the farrago of 
stuff and make-believe which passes for history. His life may 
well be called a romance. A God-like man in personal appearance, 
and Governor of Tennessee when five or six and thirty, he had 
married an exceptionally lovely young girl, and all seemed well 
with him, when, without a word, he disappeared, leaving behind 
him his newly wedded wife, and his resignation as Ck>vemor. 
The earth seemed to have swallowed him. Many years after- 
wards his deserted wife applied to the Legislattu^ of Tennessee' 
for her divorce, and, there being some opposition, a letter came 
from the faraway Indian country saying, *I will return to Nashville 
and have the heart's blood of the man who utters a word against 
the honor of Mrs. Houston, who should be promptly given the 
divorce she seeks.* There was a hero for you I 

"After the victory of San Jacinto, where Santa Anna, the 
Mexican president, had been made a prisoner, Houston dis- 
covered a plot among some of the more reckless of his men to 
kill him. He sent for the ringleader of this plot, whom he knew 
to be a brave and an honest man. 'Jo^i^/ ^^ said, *I am in 
constant dread lest something happens to Santa Anna. Of 
course, he deserves a thousand deaths, but if harm comes to him 
it will discredit Texas in the eyes of mankind, and disgrace us all. 
I have sent for you because I know you to be a patriot, good and 
true, and I am going to put the prisoner in your hands for safe- 
keeping. I want you to pick your own escort, and I shall hold 
you answerable for the consequences.* Houston's knowledge of 
human nature was consummate. No harm came to Santa Anna. 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari,y Tennessee History 189 

The very men who guarded his person as they would have guarded 
their own lives and honor were those who had banded together 
to kill him. 

''Houston's sole purpose from the beginning was to bring 
Texas into the American union. He pretended to be looking to 
England, who he cordially detested, but the understanding be- 
tween him and Gen. Jackson, like their personal friendship, was 
perfect. Van Buren, the Free Soldier, stood aloof. Even Jackson 
who made him President, could not dictate the policy of his 
administration in this regard. Publit sentiment in the United 
States, oddly enough, even in the South was divided, the Whigs 
standing out against annexation. It was reserved at last for 
Tyler to turn the trick. Many years after, when Houston, then 
a senator in congress, was making a red-hot Democratic speech 
in Boston, an Irishman interrupted to ask if, whilst he was presi- 
dent of Texas, he had not proposed to sell out to England. *My 
friend,' said Houston, 'when a wefe lamb is denied suck by a 
strange ewe the wise sh€?pherd sends for the dog, and the old 
ewe complies at once. England was my dog.' 

"Gen. Houston stood six feet six, not an ounce of superfluous 
flesh. No more attractive stump speaker ever faced a multitude, 
and he could speak to twenty thousand, his voice as clear as a 
bell, his power of illustration and his humor hardly inferior to 
that of Lincoln. He was a ready debater, too. Iverson of Georgia 
twitted him upon his defeat for re-election after his vote against 
the Kansas-Nebraska bill, the provoking cause of our subsequent 
liliad of Woes, saying Texas had put her foot upon him. Hous- 
ton's response was a gem of its kind: *The Senator from 
Georgia', he said, 'pronounces me dead, and declares that Texas 
has put her foot upon me. It may be so; and, if it be so, it recalls 
a fable of Aesop, which tells how a lion lay dead in the forest, 
and a certain animal came and kicked the dead lion. In comtesy 
to the south, and in deference to the Senator from Georgia, I 
will not mention the name of this animal that came and kicked 
the lion.' 

** Houston went home and declared himself an independent 
candidate for governor of Texas, stood upon his record, appealed 
to his people, and was elected by an overwhelming majority. 
In 1861 he opposed secession. They ousted him from office, 
and he died during the war, loving the South, but having neither 
belief in the confederacy nor hope of any successful termination 
of the war except on the side of the Union. In life they called 
him vain and vainglorious. He was certainly glorious. He 
nursed a suspicion that he would be president of the United States. 
Once driving along the avenue past Lafayette square, the wind 
blew his hat off and carried it to the door of the Whitehouse. 
He thought it an omen. His attire was a little bizarre. His 
habits were frugal, abstemious and democratic. He told the 
drollest stories. He hked a mixed audience of a summer after- 

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190 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

noon about the tavern door. He whittled bits of wood into 
various forms and presented them to his lady friends. Around 
his apartment in Willard Hotel cards were posted on which was 
printed, *My bed-time is 9 o'clock, precisely.* His second marriage 
had been felicitous and fruitful, and, whatever had been his 
errors, or mischances of his early life, his latter was all it could 
or should have been." 

We have said that Houston has not received justice at the 
hands of history. It is very interesting to attempt to surmise 
what his place in history would have been if, instead of being 
a Southern man, he had been a Northern man, and if instead 
of bringing a slave territory like Texas into the Union, he had 
brought a free territory like Canada. If the latter event had 
occurred, statues of Sam Houston would have been erected a 
half century ago in every important city in the North, and Eng- 
land would have classed him in greatness with Lord Nelson, the 
Duke of Wellington, and Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the South 
African RepubUc. The South does not write history and has 
never done so. The North does write history, and always from 
its own standpoint. The acquisition of Texas is many times 
more valuable to the United States than Canada could ever be, 
yet it has been left for the State of Texas alone to preserve his 
memory in a manner in any degree commensimtte with the vast 
and far-reaching achievement he accomplished for the American 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 191 

' ■ "■" ■ "■"■^■'^■^■''■rBrwrH*irwvvv'irii"w"w* i i*SiVS i VS i S^^ 


James Knox Polk, Sarah Childress Polk — Chro- 

h£» hit*iriP^T i h i h i h i h t ^ ii ^v^ih^Sfih i h i ^^^^ 


1795 Bora November 2, Mecklenburg, County, North Carolina. 

1806 Came with his father and family to Tennessee. 

1818 Jime — Graduated University of North Carolina. 

1819 Entered the office of Felix Grundy to study law. 

1820 Admitted to the bar. 

1822 Chief Clerk of the House in the Legislature. 

1823 Elected a member of the Legislature. 

1824 Assisted in electing Jackson to the United States Senate. 

1824 January 1, Married Miss Sarah Childress. 

1825 Elected to the lower House of Congress, and continued in 

that body by successive elections for fourteen years. 

1835 Elected Speaker of the Twenty-Fourth Congress, defeating 
John Bell. 

1837 Re-elected Speaker, Twenty-Fifth Congress, again defeat- 
ing John Bell. 

1 839 Elected Governor of Tennessee. 

1841 Defeated for Governor by James C. Jones. 

1843 Again defeated for Governor by James C. Jones. 

1844 Elected President of the United States. 

1845 March 4 — Inaugurated eleventh President of the United 

1847 Made Doctor of Laws by University of North Carolina. 
1849 March 3d— Retired from the office of President. 
1849 June 15— Died. 


1803 September 4 — Bora in Rutherford County, Tennessee. 
1815 Attended a private school in Nashville. 
1818 Went to school, Moravian Female Academy, Salem, North 

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192 Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tbnnessbe History 

1849 Moved with her husband to their new home in Nashville. 

1887 April 16 — Received George Bancroft, historian, at her res- 

1887 October — Received President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland 
at her residence. 

1891 August 14 — Died at Nashville. 

1891 August 14 — Flags on State and Federal buildings in Nash- 
ville placed at half mast. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 193 

James Knox Polk and Wife Sarah Childress Polk. 

The politics of the United States were practically controlled 
by Andrew Jackson from the time of his first candidacy for Presi- 
dent in 1825, down to his death in 1845, a period of twenty years. 
The influences which he set in motion, and the line of political 
action he laid down, continued through the administration of 
James Buchanan. Jackson was the cause of Sam Houston going 
to Texas, the ultimate result of his visit there being its annexation 
to the United States; Jackson was also the cause of the nomination 
of James K. Polk for President, and prior to that nomination he 
had been Polk's lifelong friend and supporter; in fact, Polk grew 
up and developed in State and National politics always with the 
cordial ba'cking and imvarying support of the hero of New 
Orleans. Throughout his term as Governor of Tennessee, and 
his occupation of the White House as President, he had Jackson's 
warm friendship, and that imdivided sympathy and regard that 
was exhibited always and everywhere. It was a bitter day for 
Jackson when Polk lost Tennessee in the Presidential election, but 
it was a glad day for him when he came to retrospect and see the 
policies of Polk's administration cordially approved by the Demo- 
cratic party of the United States. 

James Knox Polk was a native of Mecklenburg County, North 
Carolina, and was bom November 2, 1795. He was the oldest of 
six sons and four daughters. His mother's family name was Knox, 
and he wa^ named for James Knox, his mother's father. His father 
was Samuel Polk, and, in North Carolina, before coming to Tenn- 
essee, his father owned a farm, and appears to have been an indus- 
trious, self-reliant farmer. The Name "Polk" is a corruption of 

After the Revolutionary War, the tide of emigration flowed 
strongly to the region west of the Alleghany Mountains, and Sam- 
uel Polk with his family crossed the mountains and moved into 

13— vot 2 

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194 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History. 

what is now Maury County, Tennessee, in 1806. Samuel Polk 
was a surveyor as well as a farmer. 

The early years of James Knox Polk were spent in working on 
his father's farm, but he was not of a strong constitution, and was 
put to clerking in a store, and from this he was allowed to change 
and go to the Murfreesboro Academy; and, between two and three 
years, he prepared himself to enter the sophomore class of the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina. He was a fine student, and graduated 
in June, 1818, when he was twenty-three years old. In 1847 his 
alma mater bestowed on him the honorary degree of Doctor of 

Never robust in health, Mr. Polk in the next year after his 
graduation, entered the law oflSce of Felix Grundy, at Nashville, 
where Andrew Jackson was accustomed to call from time to time, 
he then living at the Hermitage, about twelve miles from Nashville. 
Polk was fortimate in thus early being thrown with Jackson, and a 
friendship grew up between them that was never broken. For any 
one in that day desiring political promotion, it would have been 
difficult to possess two friends more capable of advancing one's 
political fortunes than Andrew Jackson and Felix Grundy, and Polk 
had both of them as friends. 

In the latter part of 1820 Polk was admitted to the bar, and 
entered upon the practice with as fine prospects as any young man 
could possibly have at that day, and he took full advantage of 
every advantage that came to him. 

In 1822 he was Chief Clerk of the State House of Representa- 
tives, and in 1823 he was elected a member of that body. In 1824 
he assisted in nominating and electing Jackson to the United 
States Senate. 

Polk appears, all of his life, to have entertained strong hostility 
to dueling, and that, too, when Jackson and all of the leading 
men of the State, who were his personal friends, recognized the 
code of honor as a proper way of settling personal difficulties. 
It took a man of pronounced convictions and the strongest moral 
courage to stand up and openly oppose as Polk did, and there is 
no Evidence that it ever had any adverse effect upon his political 

His promotion to the world of national politics came in 1825 
when he was elected to Congress, and he continued a member 
of that body for fourteen years, by seven successive elections. 
In Congress, as in practicing law, and in everything else he under- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 195 

took or was connected with, Polk was thorough, studious, book- 
loving, methodical, conscientious and firm in arriving at con- 
clusions, and a member of Congress of that type will not have to 
wait very long for recognition. Polk's type of Congressman is 
the most valuable that appears in the capitol at Washington. 
In 1827 he was a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, 
in 1832 on Ways and Means and in 1833 Chairman of Wa)rs 
and Means. 

When Andrew Stevenson resigned as Speaker of Congress in 
1834, John Bell of Tennessee, was chosen in his place on the tenth 
ballot. He held the Speakership until December 7th, 1835, when 
the Twenty-fourth Congress assembled and Bell was again a 
candidate for Speaker, and was opposed by James K. Polk, who 
was elected on the first ballot, receiving 132 votes, 84 votes for 
Bell, 9 votes scattering. Bell had supported Judge White for 
President, and this brought on a quarrel in Tennessee politics 
that had the most strenous effects, not only then, but for years 
afterwards, among Democrats. 

When the Twenty-Fifth Congress assembled on September 4, 
1837, James K. Polk and John Bell were again rival candidates 
for Speaker, and Polk received 116 votes. Bell 103, with 5 scat- 
tering. Speaker Polk held the office for two years, and until 
the expiration of the Twenty-Fifth Congress, when, after mid- 
night on March 3, 1839, a motion was made that a vote of thanks 
be extended to the Speaker, which brought on a warm debate, 
and John Bell, Henry A. Wise of Virginia, and Sergeant S. Pren- 
tiss of Mississippi voted against the motion. We, in oiu: day, 
think that we have had some hot politics,, but if the historians 
who tell the political story of the days when the Whig party 
was to be reckoned with in the United States — a period of about 
twenty years, from 1835 to 1855 — correctly state the facts, there 
can be no comparison between those days and ours; especially 
in Tennessee politics. Furor and turbulence that must have 
meant practical insanity characterized elections, not only in Ten- 
nessee but throughout the country. 

folk's farewell to the house of representatives. 

In adjourning the House on the 4th of March, 1839, and 
terminating forever his connections with the body, of which he had 
been so long a member, Mr. Polk delivered a farewell address of 
more than ordinary length, but characterized by deep feeling. 

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196 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

**When I look back to the period," said he, "when I first 
took my seat in this House, and then look around me for those 
who were my associates here, I find but few, very few, remaining. 
But five members who were here with me fourteen years ago, 
continue to be members of this body. My service here has been 
constant and laborious. I can perhaps say what but few others, 
if any, can, that I have not failed to attend the daily sittings of 
this House a single day since I have been a member of it, save on 
a single occasion, when prevented for a short time by indisposition. 
In my intercourse with the members of this body, when I occupied 
a place upon the floor, though occasionally engaged in debates 
upon interesting public questions, and of an exciting character, 
it is a source of tmmingled gratification to me to recur to the 
fact, that on no occasion was there the slightest personal or un- 
pleasant coUision with any of its members. Maintaining, and at 
all times expressing, my own opinions firmly, the same right was 
fully conceded to others. For four years past, the station I have 
occupied, and a sense of propriety, in the divided and imusually 
exciting state of public opinion and feehng, which has existed 
both in this House and the country, have precluded me from 
participating in your debates. Other duties have been assigned 

"The high office of Speaker, to which it has been twice the 
pleasure of the House to elevate me, has been at all times one of 
labor and high responsibility. It has been my duty to decide 
more questions of parliamentary law and order, many of them of 
a complex and difficult character, arising often in the midst of 
high excitement, in the course of our proceedings, than had been 
decided, it i^ believed, by all my predecessors, from the foundation 
of the government. This House has uniformly sustained me, 
without distinction of the political parties of which it has been 
composed. I return them my thanks for their constant support 
in the discharge of the duties I have had to perform. 

"But, gentlemen, my acknowledgments are especially due to 
the majority of this House for the high and flattering evidence 
they have given me, of their approbation of my conduct as the 
presiding officer of the House, by the resolution you have pleased 
to pass. I regard it as of infinitely more value than if it had been 
the common matter-of-course, and customary resolution, which, 
in the courtesy usually prevailing between the presiding officer 
and the members of any deliberative assembly, is always passed 
at the close of their deliberations. I regard this as the highest 
and most valued testimonial I have ever received from this House; 
because I know that the circixmstances under which it has passed 
have made it matter of substance, and not of mere form. I 
shall bear it in grateful remembrance to the latest hour of my 

"I trust this high office may in future times be filled, as doubt- 
less it will be, by abler men. It cannot, I know, be filled by any 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnessbb History 197 

one who will devote himself with more zeal and mitiring industry 
to do his whole duty, than I have done." 

James Schouler had this to say about him in his history of 
the United States, at the period when Polk retired from Congress: 

"Polk now took his leave of the Legislature, having served 
in the House for foiuteen consecutive years; he left the ijmpression 
of an able man, pure of morals, industrious in the Committee 
room, skilful as a parliamentary tactician and presiding oflScer, 
but intensely partisan and narrow. Taken up presently for Gov- 
ernor of Tennessee by the party of the administration, he was 
chosen, served for two years, and lost his re-election. Fidelity 
to Jackson was his passport from that defeat to a more exalted 

**No one in the House now imagined, not even Polk himself, 
under what distinguished surroimdings this retiring Speaker of 
the House would next take up his abode at the national capital." 

This reluctant praise from Schouler serves to show what 
Polk's real merits and ability were. With the exception of James 
A. Garfield and William McKinley, who served in Congress for 
years before they were elected President, Polk was best equipped 
for the duties of President of any ever elected to that oflSce, 
and in eflSciency and ability he was the equal of either Garfield 
or McKinley. His great characteristic was that he was devoid 
of trickery or deception — ^whatever he professed to be, he was. 
Having been a loyal Democrat all of his life, and having received 
the highest honors from that party, when he became President, 
he was a Democrat still, and he proceeded to carry out the plat- 
form and wishes of the party that elected him. His Congressional 
training gave him a thorough insight into all the branches of the 
government and fitted him for selecting wise policies. When 
once a line of conduct or policy was agreed upon, Polk carried 
it out. He was one of the best administrators, and controlled 
his own cabinet, and that, too, when it contained some of the 
ablest men in the nation. He was not given to soft talk or flat- 
tering phrases; his utterances were clear, plain and strong, by 
which no man could be honestly deceived. Above eve)rthing, he 
had the Jackson quality of loyalty to friends, and he was never 
Pharisee enough to profess to love his political enemies. 

The Democrats of Tennessee nominated Polk for Governor in 
August 1839, and he was elected and served a term of two years; but 
in 1841 and 1843 the Whigs had a slight majority in the State and 

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198 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

he was defeated in both of those years for Governor by James C. 
Jones, commonly known as "Lean Jimmy" Jones. The Polk- 
Jones campaigns for Governor are looked back upon by old Whigs 
and historians as the most rabid, tumultuous, aggressive, imrelent- 
ing gubernatorial campaigns ever held in the State. Things had 
been going badly with the Whigs up to 1841, when they discovered 
James C. Jones, who was born in Davidson County in 1809, and 
married young. He was elected to the Legislature in 1839, and 
attracted the attention of the Whigs to himself at a Whig meeting 
in Nashville in 1840. Harrison had been nominated for President, 
and Jones was put upon the Whig electoral ticket, and made speech- 
es for Harrison and Tyler. He made his reputation as a stump 
speaker among the Whigs in this campaign, and at the next nomi- 
nation for Governor, he was nominated, and the State was roused 
from one end to the other. Except upon the theory that Jones 
was a comedian it is difficult to see how he so thoroughly stirred 
up the voters and brought the Whigs out winner in two guber- 
natorial campaigns. All of the writers of that day tell that he 
would hold up before his audience a coon skin, and would stroke 
it and smooth it down, and remark, "Did you ever see such fine 
fur,'* and the audience would roar with laughter. This phenom- 
enal humor seems to have been a great vote-getter. He appears 
to have been without many scruples in making statements mis- 
representing his competitor, and the comedian element in him 
showed on every stump where he and Polk spoke together. Polk 
himself was a very able stump speaker, and is credited with invent- 
ing the arjt of stump speaking in Tennessee, but he was no match 
for Jones in Jones* particular kind of oratory, and he was defeated 
in two successive races for Governor. The joy of the Whigs knew 
no limit. They burned with enthusiasm, and the coon stin candi- 
date was the hero of Whiggery for four years in Tennessee, and was 
afterwards sent to the United States Senate. There is no expla- 
nation of this remarkable political condition, except that Jones put 
on the platform, through his talent as a comedian, an irresistible 
free show, and one that appealed with great effect to the voters; 
and, the State being nearly equally divided, and Jones stirring up 
the Whigs as nobody else could, Polk had to go down in defeat. 

The National Democratic Convention met in Baltimore in 1844 
and the annexation of Texas was the leading issue. Martin Van 
Buren was the strongest candidate for the nomination, but he was 
opposed to annexation, and could not get the requisite number of 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 199 

votes. Polk was in favor of it and was taken up as a compromise 
candidate. On the eighth ballot his name was placed before the 
convention, and received some votes; on the ninth ballot he was 
easily nominated. George M. Dallas was placed upon the ticket 
with him for Vice-president. He was elected and inaugurated 
March 4th, 1845, and served the full term of four years, or imtil 
March 4, 1849. He appointed in his Cabinet: James Buchanan 
of Pennsylvania, Secretary of State; Robert J. Walker of Missisis- 
ippi, Secretary of the Treasury; William M. Marcy of New York, 
Secretary of War; George Bancroft of Massachusetts, Secretary 
of the Navy, but he was later sent to the Court of St. James, and 
John Y. Mason of Virginia, placed in his stead; Cave Thompson of 
Tennessee, Postmaster General; Nathan Clifford of Maine, Attor- 
ney-General; Private Secretary, his nephew, James Knox Walker. 

In his first annual message President Polk called the attention 
of Congress to the importance of annexing Texas to the United 
States. The slavery question became one of the dominating 
issues during his administration, and Polk took the Southern view 
of that question. 

His administration not only annexed Texas to the Union, but 
took in New Mexico, Arizona, California and Oregon. His admin- 
istration was pre-eminently satisfactory to the Democratic party, 
and may be put down as one of the most brilliant in results in the 
history of the country. It settled with England the Oregon bound- 
ary question. 

On March 5, 1849, Mr. and Mrs. Polk started on their trip 
homeward by a route that took in quite a number of Southern cities 
which had sent a request to President and Mrs. Polk to be their 
guests. They were accompanied by the Honorable Robert J. Wal- 
ker, ex-Secretary of the Treasury, and other personal friends. 
They went by Fredericksburg, Richmond, Petersburg, Wilmington, 
Charleston, Savannah, Columbus and New Orleans, and thence to 

On June 15th, 1849, President Polk died in Nashville of the 
cholera, and his remains were interred in the old City Cemetery. 
A monument was afterward designed by William Strickland, who 
was the architect of the Statehouse of Tennessee, and erected in 
front of the Polk residence in the City of Nashville. The monu- 
ment is a square, open temple, with columns at each comer, and 
the words: * 'James K. Polk, Tenth President of the United States. 

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200 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnessbb History 

Bom November 2, 1795. Died June 15, 1849," are engraved on 
the east front. The tomb is under this open temple. 

On the east side of the tomb is this inscription: **The mortal 
remains of James Knox Polk are resting in the vault beneath. He 
was bom in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and emigrated 
with his father, Samuel Polk, to Tennessee in 1806. The beauty 
of virtue was illustrated in his life; the excellence of Christianity 
was exemplified in his death/' 

On the north side are the words: **His life was devoted to pub- 
Uc service. He was elected successively to the first places in the 
State and Federal government — a member of the General Assem- 
bly, a Member of Congress, and Chairman of the most important 
Congressional Committees, Speaker of the House of Representa- 
tives, Governor of Tennessee, President of the United States." 

On the south side are the words: **By his public policy he de- 
fined, established and extended the boundaries of his country. He 
planted the laws of the American Union on the shores of the Pa- 
cific. His influence and his cotmsels tended to organize the national 
treasury on the principles of the Constitution, and to apply the 
rule of freedom to navigation, trade and industry.** 

These inscriptions were prepared by the Honorable A. O. P. 
Nicholson, who was United States Senator in 1840 and Chief 
Justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in 1870. 

The west side of the tomb was left blank for Mrs. Polk at 
her death, and it was afterwards filled in with these words: 

* 'Asleep in Jesus*' 


wife of 


Born in Rutherford County, Tennessee 

September 4, 1803 

Died at Polk Place, Nashville, Tennessee, 

August 14, 1891 

**A noble woman and devoted wife 

A true friend and sincere Christian.** 

**Blessed are the dead which died in the Lord.*' 

In his will Mr. Polk gave everything he had to his wife abso- 
lutely except Polk Place, which she was to have during her life- 
time. Mrs. Polk was named as executrix, without bond, and 
Judge John Catron, who was appointed by Andrew Jackson to 
the Supreme Coiut of the United States, and Major Daniel 
Graham, executors. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 201 

Reluctant praise wrung from an enemy or adverse historian 
is absolutely conclusive testimony of merit in the person praised, 
far beyond what is conceded. We have quoted above, from 
James Schouler, a New Hampshire historian, and are going to 
quote him again in his final summary of Polk's merits as a states- 
man and a President; and if Schouler *s reluctant eulogy is not 
proof that Polk was a great man and performed uncounted service 
for his coimtry, then we very grossly misjudge Polk's character and 
achievements, and misinterpret the meaning of Schouler's words. 
He says: 

"The crown jewels which Polk's strong policy bequeathed to 
his coimtry were of priceless worth— Oregon, and all that splendid 
spoliation of Mexico, whose chief of hidden treasures was Cali- 
fornia." ♦ * ♦ 

**The strong traits of Polk's administration have already been 
outlined. It was unquestionably an administration of strong 
achievements; and all doubts may be dismissed concerning the 
eflSciency of the man who was at the head of it. Bancroft's 
testimony as a cabinet officer is confirmed by that of Buchanan, 
who, spontaneously and in private, Ijield Polk up in latter years as 
a model President in various respects; as one who maintained 
influence among his counsellors by his great reticence, his dis- 
position to keep himself uncommitted on important points of 
policy imtil the time should arrive, and his determination not to 
have the chieftains of embittered factions with rival ambitions 
about him, but to keep all working steadily for the glory and 
success of his administration. He ascribed Polk's success in 
public measiwes, more than anything else, to his regard for the 
vital principle of official unity in action. And this premier has^ 
recalled another trait in Polk's management of affairs which he, 
of all advisers, was the proper one to discern all important questions 
with foreign nations were drawn to himself as far as possible, 
so that they should be settled at our capital and under his im- 
mediate supervision." 


In the American Historical Magazine, 1903, are published 
some reminiscences of James K. Polk by Judge Nathaniel Baxter, 
a contemporary. Judge Baxter says that he was a law student 
in Coliunbia, Tennessee, then with a population of fifteen hundred 
or two thousand in 1836-1837, at which time the Columbia Bar 
embraced some of the ablest lawyers in the history of the State. 
In 1832, or four years before he began to study law, Judge Baxter 
saw James K. Polk for the first time, and gives the following de- 
scription of him: 

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202 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"He was then thirty-seven or eight years old; his person was 
handsome and attractive. From memory I should guess he 
was about five feet ten inches, erect in his carriage, synmietrical 
in form, excellent constitution with unusual muscular strength 
and activity, with great capacity for physical labor and endiuance. 
I should judge him to have weighed one hundred fifty-five or 
one himdred sixty pounds. His hair was coal black, complexion 
a little dark, with a keen pair of steel-gray eyes, set well back in his 
head. His mouth was handsome and expressive; his lips were 
neither thick nor thin, but inclined to thin. He never wore a 
beard. His forehead was rather broad than high. There was 
no surplus flesh about his face, nor any want of flesh. His chin 
was well proportioned with his face. The whole face taken 
together was clear cut, flexible ancj^ expressive with aristocratic 
self-consciousness of superiority to the common mass. He 
dressed well.** 

Judge Baxter said this about Mrs. Polk: 

"Mrs. Polk was some eight or ten years his junior and had 
been even less impressed with the scars of time than he had. 
Though a very handsome woman, she never passed as a belle 
or a beauty — ^her ambition never sought or valued that sort of 
distinction. She was her husband's wife and monopolized his 
affections as fully as any wife ever did, and with that the measure 
of her ambition was full. But she had more elements of attrac- 
tiveness and popularity — more of that nature which draws upon 
the admiration and sympathy of men and women and made 
everybody, regardless of party politics, desire her success and 
happiness in life, than is often foimd in her sex; and beyond all 
question much of her husband's success in life was due, or at 
least was helped on largely by, the kindly feelings and admira- 
tion that every one felt for her who had the honor of her ac- 
quaintance. I never saw the Whig so vile that he would not 
have been pleased to see her in the White House if she could 
have gotten there without her husband.'* 

Judge Baxter moved from Columbia to Nashville and on one 
occasion as he was going to Nashville in company with Chancellor 
Cahal, he met Mr. Polk and his wife in their private carriage, 
and he makes this comment: 

"Business called me back to Columbia. As I was returning 
home again, in company with Chancellor Cahal, whom should 
we meet on the road, but the ex-President and his wife traveling 
alone in a private carriage. They were returning from Wash- 
ington to their home in Columbia. Mrs. Polk looked as natural 
as life with scarcely a perceptible change in the four years* ab- 
sence. But Mr. Polk had changed until I scarcely knew him. 
From a pure black, his hair had become perfectly white. It 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 203 

did not change to a silver-gray, but milk white. In his face 
was a senatorial gravity more sedate than when he left Columbia. 
He looked careworn and tired; but upon meeting old acquaint- 
ances from his old home, he brightened up and assumed his 
quondam cheerfulness. When we parted Senator Cahal said to 
me, *You have now seen the difference between the rising and 
the setting sim. When he left for Washington his escorts were 
thousands. Now that his power and patronage are gone his 
faithful wife alone remains by his side, and doubtless he is glad 
they are gone.* *' 


On April 16th, 1887, George Bancroft arrived in Nashville 
for the purpose of calling on Mrs. Polk, and of course was shown 
every courtesy and social attention that his high standing called 
for. The object of Mr. Bancroft's visit to Mrs. Polk was to get 
material for his historical work, and he made a limited examina- 
tion of the letters, papers and manuscripts in Mrs. Polk's pos- 
session, and later Mrs. Polk sent them to him at Washington; 
he had them copied, and returned the originals to her. If these 
papers are still in existence, there is a mine of historical values 
in them. In order to fully illustrate the really great achievements 
of James K. Polk, his life ought to be written by some one having 
access to all papers and documents available. It is curious that 
no Life was ever written except one or two transitory campaign 
books published while he was a candidate for President. A life 
of Polk would not only immensely redound to his own historical 
standing but would prove a great tribute to the State of Tennessee. 

His administration as President will stand the most critical 
examination. There is nothing that he said that causes us to 
think less of him, and his achievements are so great that if he 
were adjudged by them alone, he would, especially in the vast 
acquisitions of territory which he succeeded in adding to the 
United States, be put down as one of the very greatest of Ameri- 

It is worth keeping in mind that the sons of Tennessee have 
added more territory to the American Union than representa- 
tives of any other State. Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston 
were the dominating causes that ultimately brought Texas into 
the Union. James K. Polk's administration gave us New Mexico, 
Arizona, California, a part of Oregon and a part of Utah. Whose 
additions of territory can compare with these ? The South must 
learn to write history. If she had learned this lesson years ago, 

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204 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

James K. Polk and Sam Houston would have long since glittered 
as bright particular stars in the highest firmament of American 
statesmanship. There is no way to judge a man except by the 
results of his life and actions. A man may be in character a 
very great man, and achieve nothing for his country or fellowman; 
but it is a logical and moral impossibility for a man of small 
character or calibre to bring about great results; and especially 
is t^is true in the theater of national politics where antagonistic 
forces embodying courage, wealth, cunning, and every human 
characteristic, good and bad, are to be met and overcome. We 
repeat that results and achievements are the true tests of states- 
manship, and by these tests James K. Polk, Samuel Houston 
and Andrew Jackson can well aflford to be measured. 

Polk died childless, which may be one of the reasons why his 
biography was never written; collaterals naturally do not take 
the same interest in perpetuating the fame of a relative that 
direct descendants do. 

It is not impossible to ascertain why Polk has never been 
lifted to the Pantheon of great men. His administration and its 
far-reaching results were of incalculable interest and benefit to 
the South. Texas was naturally a great cotton growing State, 
and the South has always been interested in cotton. The contest 
over the annexation of Texas and the Mexican War was long, 
bitter, sectional, and denunciatory, and the history of that con- 
test, like the history of nearly all our political contests, was written 
by historians in s)anpathy with the opposition to the South, 
and southern interests. The most careful and critical reading 
of the history of Polk's administration written by opposition 
historians — ^writers who were strongly Whig, strongly anti- 
slavery, strongly anti-South — demonstrates that their criticisms 
are frequently vicious or false or biased or sectional or personal, 
but with it all, Polk's achievements were so far and away great 
and unquestionable, as to extract from even unwilling writers 
praise that they reluctantly gave. 

There was nothing of the weakling about him, but with 
strong will, great and fixed determination, unlimited energy and 
a persistency that did not stop until the end Was accomplished, 
he, while in these respects not meastuing up to "Old Hickory," 
was not so* very far removed from him. 

Tennessee has not had the influence in national politics since 
Buchanan's administration that it had before; it is not necessary 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessee History 205 

to trace the causes of this, but Tennessee owes it to itself to see 
that Polk's record is fairly and fully placed before the world; 
it will exhibit as bright a lustre for Tennessee as for Polk, for the 
Volunteer State absolutely and in every detail made him what 
he was. Tennesseans developed him, first in the Legislating, 
then in Congress, then as Governor, and finally as President. 
While not born in the State, he came to it as a child, and all 
that he ever was, and all that he ever accomplished, was through 
the people of Tennessee. 


Judge O. P. Temple, deceased, for twelve years Chancellor 
of the KnoxVille Chancery Division, was a Whig before the Civil 
War, and a Republican after the War. He had a liberal educa- 
tion and fine culture and was the author of three historical works: 
"The Covenanter, the Cavalier and the Puritan,** *'East Ten- 
nessee and the Civil War'* and "Notable Men of Tennessee." 
He was bom in 1820, and died in Knoxville in 1907, and had a 
very wide acquaintance among the leading public men of his 
day. He heard James K. Polk make a speech in 1839, and was 
present at two or three of the joint discussions between Polk and 
"Lean Jimmy Jones" in their joint canvass for Governor of Ten- 
nessee in 1841 and 1843, and sympathized with Jones. In 
"Notable Men of Tennessee" Judge Temple gives his opinion 
of Polk on the stump, and it is a carefully considered estimate, 
and coming as it does from a life-long opponent of the Demo- 
cratic party, and what Polk stood for and fought for, it must be 
accepted as one of the most eulogistic statements ever made in 
reference to Polk and that, too, by one of the most competent 

**The desire to know more of Mr. Polk is most natural. But 
few of this generation ever heard him speak, or ever saw him. 
He was scarcely of medium height, being not more than five feet 
seven or eight inches tall. He was slight in body, but trim, 
straight and graceful. His head was large, with a decidedly 
intellectual cast, and his eyes were very large, of a brown or hazel 
color, very striking and handsome, and with a benignant expres- 
sion. In dress he was faultlessly neat. Indeed, I considered him 
a very handsome man, at least a very distinguished looking one. 
Notwithstanding his delicate looking body, he was capable of the 
greatest physical endurance, as was . evident from' the almost 
incredible amount of labor he performed in his three canvasses 
of the entire State in 1839, 1841 and 1843. His voice was loud 

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206 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 

and good, though his intonation was somewhat unusual, but not 
disagreeable. He spoke with fluency, clearness, earnestness, 
and rapidity. More, he spoke with elegance, and with great 
pointedness and power. As a debater, in the presentation and 
marshaling of facts, he was ingenious, lucid and masterly. This 
was his strong point. Very seldom has any public speaker been 
able to present a long array of facts so impressively, and at the 
same time so attractively and with such irresistible power. Andrew 
Johnson could not have done so, because he did not possess the 
charm of manner, the elegance of language, the lucidness of state- 
ment, nor the compactness of argument. In a word, Mr. Polk was 
universally regarded in his day as a very great public speaker and 
a most skillful debater. Looking back at his canvass of 1839, 
I very much doubt whether there was a man in the State, on either 
side, who could have produced such a profound impression on 
the public mind. As before remarked, after his defeat by Jones, 
he never seemed to have the position as a man of rare ability 
that he previously had, and I think in this regard injustice has 
been done to his memory. It is an acknowledged fact that while 
he was President, he was master of his own administration, and 
shaped and guided its policies as he thought best. It was stronger 
and accomplished more than William Henry Harrison's, or Tyler's, 
or Taylor's, or Fillmore's, or Pierce's, or Buchanan's, or Hayes*, 
or Arthur's' or Benjjimin Harrison's, and possibly, even Monroe's. 
He was, in fact. Prime Minister, as well as President. By a war, 
brought on by his own act, he added to our dominion a vast 
territory of incalculable value." 


It rarely falls to the fortime of a woman to be not only the 
most distinguished woman in her State, but the most distinguished 
in her country, and this fortime fell to Mrs. Sarah Childress Polk. 
She was bom in Rutherford Coimty, Tennessee, September 4, 
1803, and died in Nashville August 14, 1891, and was the widow 
of James K. Polk for forty-two years. Many women could have 
been the widow of a President of the United States, and 
that been their only title to distinction or fame, but such 
was not the case with Mrs. Polk. During the forty-two years 
of her widowhood, the recognition not only that her husband 
was James K. Polk, but that her personal virtues were of the loft- 
iest and finest, never ceased to be forthcoming. She was a fine 
character as well as the widow of an American President, and 
her memory will continue to be one of the choicest possessions of 
the people of Tennessee. 

Before marriage, she was Miss Sarah Childress, daughter 
of Joel and Elizabeth Childress, and lived in Rutherford County, 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 207 

about two miles from Murfreesboro, the county seat, and her 
early education at her home was as good as was to be had 
there, which was not of the best. In fact, the thorough or higher 
education of girls was not considered necessary, but her father 
appears to have taken the proper view of female education, and 
he employed the Principal of the Academy at Murfreesboro to 
give his daughter lessons, and thereby greatly facilitated her 
progress. When she was twelve years old, she was sent to Nash- 
ville to attend a private school. When she was about fifteen 
years old, she and her sister were sent to the Moravian Female 
Academy in Salem, North Carolina. The long distance between 
her home and Salem — several hundred miles — was traveled on 
horseback, and the two girls were accompanied by a brother, 
Anderson Childress, and by a colored man servant, who went 
along to look after their baggage. From Middle Tennessee to 
Salem at this time would be traveled in less than a day, and it is 
hard for us to follow a trip on horseback and imagine the various 
episodes and adventiu-es that must have happened to them. 
But they accomplished the journey without mishap, and entered 
upon the life of a large school, which, to them^ was entirely new. 
It is probable that this school was as good as any school for 
girls in the country at that time. Wealth was not then rated as 
it is in our day. Immense fortunes did not exist except in very 
rare instances. The Childress family were well-to-do according 
to the standard of that time, and had all the social acceptability 
and distinction of other well to do people of the period. 

As far as we can ascertain, James Knox Polk was the first 
and only suitor Mrs. Polk ever had. He was considered a young 
man of fine prospects from the start, and presented his case to 
Miss Childress with such persuasiveness and effect that a marriage 
followed on Thiu^day evening, January 1st, 1824. It was a big 
country wedding, and the young people were tendered social 
attention in generous profusion. Aaron V. Brown. and Lucius 
J. Polk were two of the attendants. Brown, like Polk, was a 
graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 
and was Polk's partner in the practice of law. He was a member 
of the Legislature of Tennessee, a member of Congress, and was 
elected Governor of Tennessee in 1845. In 1857 President Buch- 
anan appointed him Postmaster General. 

Mrs. Polk's first trip to Washington was with her husband 
in 1826, when he was a member of Congress. She and Mr- 

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208 Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tennessbb History 

Polk were accompanied by Sam Houston, who was also a member 
of Congress. 

In 1842 Mr. and Mrs. Polk had as their guest at Nashville 
ex- President Martin Van Buren, who also visited General Jackson, 
at the Hermitage. 

After Mr. Polk's election as President, Mrs. Polk accompanied 
her husband to Washington. They went by steamer from Nash- 
ville to Wheeling, and thence by carriage to Cumberland, and 
there they took the raitoad train. At Baltimore they were 
joined by the Vice President elect, the Honorable George M. 
Dallas, and the party proceeded to Washington. Mr. Polk was 
inaugurated President and Mrs. Polk entered upon her duties 
as Mistress of the White House. 

Mrs. Polk was a consistent Presbyterian, and her reign in the 
White House eliminated card playing and dancing, but in all 
other respects she did her full part in the social life of the nation's 

Ben Perley Poore, who published in book form * 'Reminiscences 
of Sixty Yfears as a Newspaper Correspondent in Washington" 
in two volumes, and who was not especially friendly to Democrats 
or Democratic administrations, in his Reminiscences has this to 
say of Mrs. Polk: 

'*Mrs. Polk was a strict Presbyterian, and she shunned what 
she regarded as *the vanities of the world' whenever it was pos- 
sible for her to do so. She did not possess the queenly grace of 
Mrs. Madison, or the warm, hearty, hospitality of Mrs. Tyler, 
but she presided over the White House with great dignity. She 
was of medium height in size, with very black hair, dark eyes and 
complexion, and firm, yet graceful deportment. At the inaugur- 
ation of her husband she wore a black silk dress, a long black velvet 
doak, with a deep cape trimmed with fringe and tassels, and a 
purple velvet bonnet, trimmed with satin ribbon. Her usual 
style of dress was rich, but not showy. 

'*Mrs. Polk would not permit dancing at the White House, 
but she did all in her power to render the administration popular. 
One morning a lady found her reading. 'I have many books 
presented to me by their writers,' said she, *I try to read them all; 
at present this is not possible; but this evening, the author of 
this book dines with the President, and I could not be so unkind as 
to appear wholly ignorant and unmindful of his gift.' 

"At one of her evening receptions, a gentleman remarked: 
'Madam, you have a very genteel assemblage tonight.' *Sir,' 
replied Mrs. Polk, with perfect good humor, but very signifi- 
cantly, *I have never seen it otherwise.' " 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 209 

It was while Mrs. Polk was living in Nashville, in all the 
long years after the death of her husband, in dignified, cultured 
retirement, that she appeared at her best, and entered most 
largely into the affections of the people of Tennessee. There 
were a number of years when she and Andrew Johnson were the 
two most distinguished citizens of Tennessee, and when Andrew 
Johnson died in 1875, Mrs. Polk, down to her death in 1891, had 
universal recognition as the State's most distinguished citizen; 
and as such received the most complimentary attention from the 
leading people of the United States who visited Nashville. The 
Legislature of Teimessee did her the honor to set apart one day 
of each session to pay their respects by calling on her. She 
received invitations to be present at great occasions, all over the 
coimtry. In order to induce her to visit the Centennial Exposi- 
tion at Philadelphia in 1876, the Pennsylvania Railroad offered 
her a palace car to travel in. She was invited by different Presi- 
dents to become a guest in the White House. President and 
Mrs. Hayes visited her in 1877, accompanied by Secretary of 
State, William M. Evarts. 

President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland visited Nashville diu-ing 
Mr. Cleveland's first term as President, and called on Mrs. Polk, 
and afterwards inspected the tomb of the former President. 
There were exactly forty years between the time that Mrs. Polk 
entered the White House in 1845 as its Mistress, and when Mrs. 
Frances Folsom Cleveland entered it, in 1885. 

On July 4, 1888, Mrs. Polk was selected to touch the button 
which placed the machinery in motion of the Cinciimati Cen- 
tennial Exposition held to exemplify the progress of Ohio and 
adjoining States for a century. 

In 1882 Congress appropriated a pension of $5,000.00 a year 
to Mrs. Polk, and the bill making the appropriation was amended 
so as to include all living widows of ex-Presidents. 

George Bancroft, who was Secretary of the Navy during 
President Polk's administration, was, until his very last days, a 
very warm friend of Mrs. Polk, and he wrote her, on her eighty- 
sixth birthday this letter: 


** Washington, September, 1889. 
"My dear Mrs. Polk: Your birthday returns and your friends 
are happy in yoiu* continued good health and enjojrment of life. 


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210 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

As the oldest of them, and as one who, if spared, will in a few 
days enter his ninetieth year, I congratulate you on yoiu- health 
and vigor. May the coming year be one of perfect health and 
happiness to you; you hold the affectionate regard of your coimtry, 
and the esteem and best wishes of a nation minister to your length 
of days better than all the eflforts and care of the men of the 
healing art can do. There is a constant refreshment of life in 
enjoying the highest esteem and regard of a free people who 
elected your husband to be their chief, and who enabled him to 
fill his years of oflSce with the greatest deeds. Live long, that 
you may more and more see the astounding results of his admin- 
istrative genius. Coimt me as one of the most earnest of your 
friends — perhaps the truest, as the oldest, of them all. 
**Ever with affectionate respect, yoiu* devoted friend, 


George Bancroft died January 17^ 1891. He was bom Octo- 
ber 3, 1800. While Secretary of the Navy he established the 
Naval Academy at Annapolis. 

NatiuuUy Mrs. Polk received a great many eulogistic and 
flattering letters, commimications and addresses .during the forty- 
two years she was so distinguished as a citizen of Tennessee, 
but we doubt if anything was ever said or written to her that 
received her whole-hearted appreciation like the concluding clause 
in her husband's will, in these words: 

"I have entire confidence that my beloved wife, Sarah Polk, 
who has been constantly identified with me in all her sympathies 
and affections, through all the vicissitudes of my public and private 
life for more than twenty-five years, and who, by her prudence, 
care and economy has aided in assisting me in acquiring and pre- 
serving the propCTty which I own, will, at her death, make a proper 
and just distribution of what property she may then possess." 

She died at Polk Place in Nashville on August 14, 1891, and 
was biuied beside her husband. The tomb was subsequently 
moved to the Capitol grounds, where it will probably remain 
for all time to come. 

Frances E. Willard, the founder of the Woman's Christian 
Temperance Union paid her a tribute in a letter addressed to a 
relative of Mrs. Polk: 

**Evanston, 111., August 15, 1891. 
"Dear Friend: 

"A noble Christian and typically American lady of the old 
school has gone from this world, and a beloved atmt and house- 
hold comrade has left your historic home. Seeing Mrs. Polk 
first in 1881, I have omitted no opportunity to do so when in 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari,y Tennessee History 211 

Nashville since then. The portrait at the White House, placed 
there by American women, northern and southern, was a beauti- 
ful token of our renewed love and good understanding. The 
Christian example of Mrs. President Polk at the Executive Man- 
sion will brighten the annals of oiu* common country. These 
lines cannot express the full meastu-e of appreciation and rever- 
ence that I have always cherished for yoiu* illustrious atmt. Well 
might the church bells toll for one always loyal to oiu* Lord, and 
the flags be placed at half mast for a patriot who dignified the 
name 'American!* May God's blessing be with you all who 
loved her, and who have lost her out of your lives, is the prayer of, 
**Yours in the love of God and of humanity, 


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212 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 


Jcimes Knox Polk, Political History — Nomination 
for the Presidency at Baltimore Convention 
of 1844 — ^Bancroft's Letter on the Nomina- 
tion — ^Jeremiah George Harris — 
Col. Ezekiel Polk. 

Few persons in Tennessee or elsewhere know that James K. 
Polk was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Vice 
President in 1840, but withdrew on July 4th following the meeting 
of the National Democratic Convention in Baltimore on May 
5th. He was Governor of Tennessee from 1839 to 1841 and in 
October, 1839, the senate of Tennessee passed a resolution en- 
dordng him as * 'eminently fitted for the vice-preadency of the 
United States** and put him in the race for that oflSce. Richard 
M. Johnson of Kentucky, Rufus King of Alabama, and John 
Forsyth of Georgia, were also candidates and Johnson was ulti- 
mately successful and ran on the ticket with Martin Van Buren, 
the nominee of the Democratic convention of May 5, and both 
were crushingly defeated by Harrison and Tyler when the election 
came around. 

Polk's withdrawal from the race for the nomination for vice- 
president occurred at a 4th of July celebration at Knoxville, Ten- 
nessee, in 1840, where large numbers of the Democracy of East 
Tennessee had met to honor the day. Governor Polk was present 
by invitation and in his speech declared he would not be a can- 
didate for the vice-presidency, but was a candidate for re-election 
to the oflSce of Governor. 

The Tennessee delegates to the Democratic convention at 
Baltimore were Felix Grundy, Samuel H. Laughlin, A. Anderson, 
William Carroll, John C. Rodgers, Jonas E. Thomas, Arthur R. 
Crozier, Harvey Watterson, H. L. Tumey, P. B. Anderson, 
William Deeny, Newton Clark, James Dortch, Williamson Smith 
and Abraham McClellan. 

The convention decided to make no nomination for vice- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 213 

president and gave the Democratic party and the country at 
large its reasons for so doing in this resolution: 

** Resolved, That this Convention do present the name of 
Martin Van Buren to the people as the Democratic candidate 
for the ofl&ce of President of the United States, and that we will 
spare no honorable efforts to secure his election; and 

'Whereas, Several of the States which have nominated Martin 
Van Buren as a candidate for the presidency have put in nomi- 
nation different individuals as candidates for the oflSce of vice- 
president, thus indicating a diversity of opinion as to the person 
best entitled to the nomination; and, 

** Whereas, Some of said States are not represented in this 
convention; and as all the individuals so nominated have filled 
the various public trusts confided to them ably and faithfully, 
and thereby seciu-ed for themselves the confidence of their re- 
publican fellow citizens; therefore, 

*' Resolved, That the convention deems it expedient at the 
present time not to choose between the individuals in nomina- 
tion, but to leave the decision to their republican fellow citizens 
in the several States, trusting that before the election shall take 
place their opinions shall become so concentrated as to secure 
the choice of a vice president by the electoral colleges." 

Samuel H. Laughlin, one of the delegates to the Baltimore 
convention and a strong supporter of Polk for vice-president, 
kept a diary and throws some very interesting side lights on Ten- 
nessee politics at this period. The paragraphs of April 14th 
and 15th, quoted below, from his diary, refer to events when he 
was on his way from his home at McMinnville, Tennessee, to 
the convention at Baltimore. The paragraph of April 28th 
refers to events after he arrived at Washington and had consulted 
With Governor Polk's friends and all had agreed that Polk could 
not be nominated at the convention. 

All the candidates for vice president w^jJidrew before the 
election leaving the race to Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky. 

Samuel H. lyaughlin was bom in Washington County, Va., 
May 1, 1796, and was a newspaper man and politician who was 
in the confidence of the Polk- Jackson organization in Tennessee. 
Ivaughlin was in the inner circles of the politics of that day. 

In 1835 "The Nashville Union" was established to support 
the Jackson organization and Laughlin was selected as the editor. 
At the time the above extracts from his diary were written his 
home was at McMinnville in Warren County. It is greatly 
to be regretted that his diary breaks off at the time he 

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214 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessbb History 

got to Washington and does not give us what would have been 
exceedingly interesting details of the Baltimore Convention of 

In 1841-42 Laughlin was a member of the State Senate from 
the senatorial district made up of Warren, Cannon, Coffee and 
DeKalb Coimties. He was one of the **immortal thirteen" 
who succeeded in blocking the Whig House of Representatives 
in the election of U. S. Senators, which resulted in Tennessee 
being without representation in the Senate till 1843. 

Laughlin was also a delegate to the next National Demo- 
cratic Convention and after the nominations had been made he 
was again put in charge of The Nashville Union. When 
Polk was elected he rewarded him with the appointment 
of Recorder of the General Land Office of the United States. 
He died in the City of Washington. 

The diary from which the above quotations are taken be- 
longs to Mrs. Jessie Spurlock Harrison of McMinnville, Ten- 
nessee, a great granddaughter of Laughlin, who allowed the edi- 
tor, Mr. St. George L. Sioussat, to publish the same in the "Ten- 
nessee Historical Magazine for March, 1916. 

''Nashville, Tuesday, April 14, 1840. . . . Messrs. 
Thomas, Clarke and myself went home with the Governor to 
tea, and to pay our respects to the time honoiu-ed sage of the 
Hermitage who was at the Governor's house. We found the 
Ex President in good health and fine spirits; and very deeply 
impressed with the importance of the nomination of President 
and Vice President which it was the object of the Baltimore 
Convention to make. He was clear in the position that the nom- 
ination of Col. Johnson, whom he greatly honors as a soldier 
and a patriot would weaken and distract our party in the south, 
southwest, and everywhere. That Georgia and Alabama had 
their own favorites, Forsyth and King, but both preferred Polk 
to Johnson, and that Virginia and South CaroUna would in no 
event vote for Johnson, and were both Polk States. That Polk 
would be acceptable to North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, 
Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and the whole southwest; 
that Virginia had nominated him unconditionally, and that in 
the North West he would be as strong or stronger than Johnson. 
That Massachusetts had nominated Polk, aflfording a clear in- 
dication of the wishes of the whole eastern democracy. That 
he had been told, but did not credit it, that Mr. Kendall, Col. 
Benton, and Mr. Poinsett, were averse to Mr. Polk's nomina- 
tion; that he had reason to believe that Mr. Wright of New York, 
and Mr. Allen of Ohio were for Polk; that the President stood 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 215 

entirely aloof, as he ought to do, from all participation in the 
question; that he had written his views freely and fully to Col. 
Benton, Mr. Wright, Mr, Kendall and others. 

**Nashville, Wednesday, April 15, 1840. . . . "Again 
saw Col. Polk, and read his last letters from Mr. Grundy, 
Mr. Cave Johnson, and Mr. Hubbard (David) Gen. A. Anderson 
and others. Heard his views at large, and his determination. 
He was advised that it was a project at Washington, (into which 
I fear our friends have been persuaded to imite if true) to make 
no nomination of Vice President at Baltimore, and let the states 
and the people imite upon candidates, and if no election is made 
by the Electoral Colleges, that the Senate will make a choice, 
which will ensiu-e Gov. Polk's election anyhow. I do not approve 
of this, if it can possibly be avoided, because it may lead to the 
sacrifice of Col. Polk, and can have no other effect than to (per- 
haps) strengthen Mr. Van Buren whose election is safe any how; 
and because Gov. Polk ought not, and declares he will not, after 
the manner and example of Judge White in 1836, be run as a 
sectional candidate, to promote the personal prospects of any 
man, when he cannot be elected himself, and is not or may not 
be the choice of a majority of his own party. He declared to us, 
that in the event of Johnson's nomination, he would earnestly 
support him; but, if no nomination was made, and states enough 
did not forthwith take him up, for which reasonable time might 
be allowed, to elect him, or place him foremost on the democratic 
list before the Senate, that he would forthwith withdraw his name, 
and take the field in support of Col. Johnson, or the strongest 
democratic candidate who may be brought out by the states 
or the people. 

"Washington, Tuesday, April 28, 1840. . . . *'Not 
having slept last night I got some coffee for breakfast, 
and loimged about the House of Representatives all day. The 
same scene described in yesterday's journal continued all day 
till the adjournment late in the evening. Saw Gen. Anderson 
and Gov. Clay about the business of the Baltimore Convention. 
All were now agreed that Gov. Polk could not be nominated, 
that Johnson could not without New Uork, and that best way, 
if possible, was to make* no nomination. This matter was in 
treaty between Mr. Grundy and Mr. Wright. Talked with 
Mr. D. Hubbard and Mr. A. V. Brown on the subject, pressed 
the matter in every form. Went to bed early and slept most 

On May 27th, after the Democratic Convention had nomin- 
ated Van Biu-en for President and had refused to make a nomin- 
ation for vice president, Governor Polk addressed the following 
letter to Senator Felix Grundy at Washington. 

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216 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

polk to pelix grundy. 

**Nashville May 27, 1840. 
"Dear Sir: 

"The national democratic convention held at Baltimore, after 
nominating with perfect unanimity the present chief magistrate, 
for re-election to the station which he has filled with so much 
honor to himself and advantage to the country, having declined 
making a nomination for the vice presidency, it becomes proper, 
in my judgment, that I should distinctly declare the position 
which I occupy before the coimtry, in reference to the use which 
has been made of my name in connection with that office. 

"Having been unexpectedly placed in nomination by a por- 
tion of my republican fellow citizens, in some of the states, it 
was my imalterable determination, often expressed to my friends, 
from the day that my name first appeared in connection with 
the vice presidency, to be governed by the wishes of the majority 
of the political party, to which I have been ardently attached 
during my whole life, whenever the preference of that majority 
should be ascertained in any satisfactory mode; and in no possible 
contingency to yield my own consent to the use of my name as a 
candidate by a minority of my own political friends. 

"If, as at one time anticipated, a full convention of the demo- 
cratic party representing all the states, had assembled and made 
a nomination that would have been conclusive, none would 
have been more cheerful to abide by the nomination thus made, 
or to give the nominee (had the choice fallen on another) a more 
cordial and hearty support than myself. It appears, however, 
that several of the states were unrepresented in the convention, 
and the selections of the democratic candidate for the vice presi- 
dency was left open for the separate action of the republican 
party of the several states. 

"I entirely concur with the convention, in the hope expressed 
by that body, that 'before the election shall take place,' the 
^opinions' of the republican party *shall become so concen- 
trated, as to secure the choice of a vice president by the electoral 

"In times like these, when powerful combinations of various 
sectional interests, are acting in extraordinary concert with our 
old opponents, the federalists, and their allies the abolitionists, 
against the cherished principles of our republican institutions 
personal and sectional preferences, between men of the same 
pohtical principles, are of no importance. The ancient enemies 
of our long cherished principles, with their new recruits and 
reinforcements, are to be met. The pillars, upon which per- 
manently rest our national independence, and our beautiful 
fabric of separate state sovereignties, are to be defended. And 
as these considerations are, to my judgment, infinitely more 
important to the country than the elevation of any individual 

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Andrbw Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 217 

dtizen to this, or any other office, I trust I may be permitted, to 
express my sincere desire, should the further use of my name, 
in connection with the vice presidency, be found to interpose 
the slightest obstacle to the entire and cordial union of the demo- 
cratic party, that it may be promptly withdrawn by my friends 
from before the public. I can have no desire to be a party to a 
contest in which I may be thrown into apparent collision with 
political friends whom I esteem, and with whom I have acted 
for a long series of year«, and especially if such a position shall 
have a tendency to weaken the sympathies of the whole republican 
party, and hazard the safety and continued ascendency of their 
cardinal principles. 

"The present struggle is a fierce one, and it becomes the duty 
of every repubhcan to defend his post manfully. If, in my public 
career, I have heretofore, evinced any becoming ardor and zeal 
in the maintenance of our principles that ardor is unabated, that 
zeal is imdiminished; and, although my position may be that of 
an individual citizen in the ranks of my party, I shall be foimd 
faithfully acting with my political friends, and, upon all suitable 
and proper occasions, resolutely exercising my rights as a freeman 
in maintaining the republican principles of our fathers, and carry- 
ing them successfully through the *ordeal of the popular sufifer- 
age.* I, am, with high regard your obedient servant, 


"Hon. Felix Grundy, Washington City.*' 


"Hermitage, Aug. 24, 1840. 

"Sir: Your letter of the 22d instant, reached me to-day. 
You remark that on many occasions this summer we have heard 
it charged from the stump, that oiw talented governor, James 
K. Polk, received from me, some years since, a certificate to his 
willingness to defend his person; and that 'on a late occasion, 
a gentleman by the name of Peyton stated that Mr. Wise had 
said to Colonel Polk, when speaker of the house of representa- 
tives, *you are a damned little petty tyrant; I mean this per- 
sonally; pocket it,' and that I had endeavored to rescue the 
speaker from disgrance by giving him a certificate that his conduct 
was not improper or pusillanimous, and now desire to know 
from me whether there is any foundation in truth, for such state- 

"I answer that there is not the slightest authority for such 
statements. Col. Polk never in his life applied to me for a 
certificate, nor did I ever suppose or belive, that one was re- 
quired by him from me or any one else, to sustain his personal 

"I recollect that when Wise assailed him as speaker of the 
house of representatives, using probably the expressions you have 
quoted, I spoke of Wise's conduct as did every citizen who had 

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218 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

any respect for the character of the house, in strong terms of 
disapprobation. And concurred with others in the opinion that 
the speaker, in treating such blackquardism with contempt, 
pursued the course which was most consistent with the dimity 
of the house, and a just self-respect. But the idea of my giving 
Col. Polk a certificate, or having applied for, or obtained one, is 
entirely unwarranted, and could only have been suggested by a 
mind capable of falsehood, and of applying the vulgar language 
you have quoted to the speaker of the house for the performance 
of his duties. I am, very respectfully you ob't servant, 


"NashviUe, Tenn., Oct. 2, 1840. 
**To the Hon. S. M. Gates, member of congress from the state of 
New York: 

**Sir: I have received through the post office a communi- 
cation, under yoiw official frank as a member of congress, con- 
taining certain proceedings of a body of men styling themselves 
*a convention of the friends of the negro, assembled from various 
parts of the world, convened for the piupose of promoting the 
immediate, entire and imiversal abolition of slavery and the slave 
trade.' This convention, it appears, was holden at London, 
in the month of Jime last. The envelope covering the communi- 
cation, which comes to me under your frank, is postmarked at 
the city of New York, is sealed with a stamp, bearing a pictoral 
representation of a person in an imploring attitude, and encir- 
cled with the words, * British and foreign anti-slavery society.' 
The commtmication itself contains an 'appeal to the governor 
of Tennessee to employ all the influence and power with which 
Divine Providence has entrusted him, to secure immediate and 
unconditional liberty to the slave.' 

**The fact is indisputable that you have lent your official 
frank to this self-styled 'world's convention of abolitionists,' 
as a means of enabling them to send their infamous publications in 
manuscript through the United States' mails free of expense, 
and the presumption, therefore, is, that you countenance and 
approve the proceedings which you aid them to circulate. In a 
postscript to the commimication bearing your frank, I am re- 
quested to acknowledge its receipt in a letter addressed to the 
'president of the convention at London.' This request I shall 
disregard. I cannot recognize, by any act of mine, official or other- 
wise the right of foreigners to make an attempt in itself so imper- 
tinent and impudent, to intermeddle or interfere with the domestic 
institutions of this state. But, you sir, are an American citizen, 
and by the part you have borne, have made yoiu^f equally 
criminal and responsible with the foreign agitators and fanatics 
with whose proceedings you have identified yourself. Were it 
not for the official station which you occupy, I am free to declare. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 219 

that I should treat the part which you have borne in this dark 
transaction with the scorn and contempt which I entertain for 
the proceedings themselves, and which I am sure all patriotic 
citizens, ardently attached to the imion, and desiring its preserva- 
tion, will pronoimce upon your conduct. 

**It is to be regretted that the affected and hypocritical phil- 
anthropy of British and other foreign abolitionists, with whom 
your official frank identifies you, had not been reserved for the 
suffering subjects of their own dominions, whose unremitting toil 
even in seasons of profound peace, is in many instances, scarcely 
rewarded with the means of prociuing wholesome food and decent 
raiment. Unacquainted as the convention, whose 4)roceedings 
you endorse and circulate by your frank, seems to have been wiSi 
the peacable relation of master and slave in the United States, 
and their advice is as worthless as it is gratuitous. 

**The foreigner, in extenuation of his crime, may plead ignor- 
ance of our form of government, but from you, sir, his American 
aider and abetter, no such plea is admissible. He riiay be actuated 
by a desire to produce insmrection in the heart of a rival nation. 
But what apology have you, sir, for lending your official privilege 
as a member of congress to aid him in an attempt to produce 
anarchy and confusion in one of the constituent sovereignties of 
your own government? Have you seriously reflected upon the 
dangers of the crusade in which you are engaged, a crusade in 
alliance with foreigners, which not only threatens the peace 
and harmony of the imion, but may endanger its existence if the 
wicked agitation to which you give your countenance, is per- 
sisted in? Are you so deliberately reckless of consequences as 
to be willing to lend and abet foreigners in proceedings calculated, 
if not designed, to excite sectional jealousies and heart burnings, 
to divide the states by geographical lines, to array one section 
against another; and that, too at the imminent peril of producing 
domestic insurrection, and a servile war? Have you yet to be 
informed that slavery existed in the colonies long before inde- 
pendence was achieved! Have you yet to learn that at the adop- 
tion of the constitution, the adjustment of the slave question 
presented one of the chief difficulties to the formation of the 
union which had to be encoimtered, and that it was ultimately 
settled upon principles of mutual concession and compromise? 
Would you disturb the fundamental compact upon which the union 
of the states rests? But I will not argue the question. It is not 
one which is debatable. 

"It is matter of sincere regret that any American citizen 
should be guilty of such high treason to the first principles upon 
which the states became imited. Your official frank covering 
these proceedings stands up in judgment against you, as a witness 
whose testimony is not to be impeached. 

**The only further notice which I shall take of these nefar- 
ious proceedings of foreigners, with whom you stand associated. 

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220 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

will be to expose them to the indignant reprobation of the people 
of Tennessee. "JAMES K. POLK." 


**Columbia, Tennessee, April 22, 1844. 
"Gentlemen: — Yom* letter of the 30th ult., which you have 
done me the honor to address to me, reached my residence during 
my absence from home, and was not received until yesterday. 
Accompanying your letter you transmit to me, as you state, *a 
copy of the proceedings of a very large meeting of the citizens 
of Cincinnati, assembled on the 29th ult., to express their settled 
opposition to the annexation of Texas to the United States.* 
You request from me an explicit expression of opinion upon this 
question of annexation. Having at no time entertained opinions 
upon public subjects which I was unwilling to avow, it gives 
me pleasure to comply with the request. I have no hesitation 
in declaring, that I am in favor of the immediate annexation of 
Texas to the territory and government of the United States. I 
entertain no doubts as to the power or expediency of the reannexa- 
tion. The proof is fair and satisfactory to my own mind, that 
Texas once constituted a part of the territory of the United 
States, the title to which I regard to have been indisputable 
as that to any portion of our territory. At the time the nego- 
tiation was opened with a view to acquire the Floridas, and flie 
settlement of other questions, and pending that negotiation, the 
Spanish Government itself was satisfied of the validity of our title, 
and was ready to recognize a line far west of the Sabine as the 
true western boundary of Louisiana, as defined by the treaty 
of 1803 with France, imder which Louisiana was acquired. This 
negotiation, which had at first opened at Madrid, was broken off 
and transferred to Washington, where it was resumed, and resulted 
in the treaty with Florida, by which the Sabine was fixed on as 
the western boundary of Louisiana. From the ratification of 
the treaty of 1803 with France, until the treaty of 1819, with 
Spain, the territory now constituting the Republic of Texas, 
belonged to the United States. In 1819 the Florida treaty was 
concluded at Washington, by Mr. John Q. Adams, the Secretary 
of State, on the part of the United States, and Don Luis de Onis 
on the part of Spain; and by that treaty this territory lying west 
of the Sabine, and constituting Texas, was ceded by the United 
States to Spain. The Rio del Norte, or some more western 
boundary than the Sabine, could have been obtained, had it been 
insisted upon by the American Secretary of State, and by increas- 
ing the consideration paid for the Floridas. In my judgment, 
the coimtry west of the Sabine, now called Texas, was most un- 
wisely ceded away. It is a part of the great valley of the Mis- 
sissippi, directly connected by its navigable waters with the Mis- 
sissippi river; and having once been a part of our Union, it should 
never have been dismembered from it. The Government and 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 221 

people of Texas, it is understood, not only give their consent, but 
are anxiously desirous to be reimited to lie United States. If 
the application of Texas for a reunion and admission into our 
Confederacy, shall be rejected by the United States, there is 
imminent danger that she will become a dependency if not a 
colony of Great Britain, an event which no American patriot, 
anxious for the safety and prosperity of this coimtry, could permit 
to occur without the most strenuous resistance. Let Texas be 
reannexed, and the authority and laws of the United States be 
established and maintained within her limits, as also in the 
Oregon Territory, and let the fixed policy of our Government be, 
not to permit Great Britain, or any other foreign power to plant 
a colony or hold dominion over any portion of the people or terri- 
tory of either. 

* 'These are my opinions; and without deeming it necessary 
to extend this letter, by assigning the many reasons which influence 
me in the conclusions to which I come, I regret to be compelled 
to dififer so widely from the views expressed by yourselves, and 
the meeting of citizens of Cincinnati whom you represent. Dif- 
fering, however, with you and with them as I do, it was due to 
frankness that I should be thus explicit in the declaration of my 

**I am, with great respect, 

**Yoiu- obedient servant, 


**To Messrs. S. P. Chase, Thomas Heaton, &c., &c.. Com- 
mittee Cincinnati." 

In 1844 Polk was again a candidate for the Democratic nom- 
ination for Vice-president at the convention which met in Balti- 
more on May 27th, but both he and his friends foresaw the pos- 
sibility of the convention being compelled to take up a compromise 
man for President, and they were on the alert in that contingency 
to bring it about that Polk would be that compromise man. 
Conventions in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi endorsed 
Polk for Vice-president. 

The Convention of 1844 and the issue it raised on the immed- 
iate annexation of Texas forever crushed the presidential aspira- 
tions V Henry Clay, rendered Martin Van Buren a negligible 
factor in presidential politics, and made James K. Polk, Presi- 
dent of the United States. Every candidate before the Conven- 
tion was in favor of the immediate annexation of Texas, except 
Van Buren, and that alone rendered Van Buren's nomination 
impossible. In addition there was bitter antagonism between 
Lewis Cass of Michigan and Van Buren, each preferring almost 
anybody else to the other for the nomination, and this antagonism 

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222 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

eliminated them both. Polk had some very able politicians look- 
ing after his interests, and they judged the situation in advance 
precisely as it terminated. 


The National Democratic party met in Odd Fellow's Hall, 
Baltimore, Monday, May 27, 1844, at twelve o'clock. The 
outlook for the Democracy was not good. The party had been 
defeated by Harrison and Tyler in the last presidential election 
and Tyler was a candidate for the presidency again. The annex- 
ation of Texas was the issue on which northern and southern 
Democrats were divided and it was everywhere known that Mar- 
tin Van Biu-en was opposed to the immediate annexation of Texas, 
and would have at least a majority voting strength in the Demo- 
cratic convention. Many Democratic leaders doubted even the 
possibility of the convention making a nomination at all, and the 
student who studies the situation of the Democratic party of 
that day is forced to the conclusion that no nomination could have 
been made except in the way it was done, and no nominee of 
the convention could have been successful except James K. Polk. 
Our judgment in review is generally much better than in forecast. 
For sometime after Polk received his nomination the outlook 
for the election was not bright. 

The personnel of the convention we judge to be high, from 
this description by the Baltimore Sun at that time: 

**In their united capacity they presented as respectable and 
dignified a body as we have ever seen convened on a similar or 
any other occasion. The familiar faces of honorable gentlemen, 
whose talents, elevated position and popular character have made 
their names and fame household words throughout the coimtry, 
were encoimtered at every glance by the eye practiced in the 
political world; while others composing the assembly maintained 
in all appearance that dignified character which to the observer 
pervaded the whole." » 

Hendrick B. Wright was elected temporary chairman and Wil- 
liam F. Ritchie, son of the veteran editor of the Richmond En- 
quirer, temporary secretary. 

After prayer had been offered the convention met its first 
stumbling block in a motion to adopt the two-thirds rule in mak- 
ing the nomination for president. This motion was, however, 
withdrawn until a permanent organization could be effected. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 223 

The first move in that direction was the appointment of a com- 
mittee on credentials, as follows: Maine, Mr. Stetson; New 
Hampshire, Gov. Hubbard; Massachusetts, Mr. Bancroft; Ver- 
mont, Mr. Hunt; Rhode Island, Mr. Below; Connecticut, Mr. 
Towson; New York, Mr. H. K. Smith; New Jersey, Mr. P. B. 
Kennedy; Pennsylvania, Mr. J. Bredin; Maryland, Gen. B. C. 
Howard; Delaware, Mr. J. N. Sutton; Virginia, Mr. W. H. Roane; 
North Carolina, Mr. John Hill; South Carolina, vacancy; Ala- 
bama, Mr. Shields; Mississippi, Hon. R. J. Walker; Louisiana 
Mr. Leonard; Tennessee, Hon. Cave Johnson; Kentucky, Hon. 
J. W. Tibbatts; Ohio, T. W. Bartley; Indiana, Mr. Wright; Illinois, 
Mr. J. Dimlap; Missouri, Mr. T. M. Price; Michigan, Mr. R. S. 
Wilson; Georgia, Mr. F. H. Cone; Arkansas, Mr. Fulton. 

South Carolina was not represented in the convention. 

A committee on permanent organization was appointed as 
follows: Maine, Mr. N. Clifford; N. Hampshire, Mr. J. Eaton; 
Massachusetts, Mr. Abbott; Vermont, Mr. E. B. Norris; Rhode 
Island, Mr. H. Willard; Connecticut, Mr. N. Billings; New York, 
Mr. E* Coming; New Jersey, Mr. J. M. Hartshome; Pennsyl- 
vania, Mr. J. R. Shannon; Maryland, Mr. P. F. Thomas; Dela- 
ware, Mr. W. H. Ross; Virginia, Gen'l. Chapman; N. Carolina, 
Mr. Blount; Georgia, Hon. W. T. Colquit; Alabama, Mr. P. 
Williams; Mississippi, Mr. Thompson; Louisiana, Mr. Leonard; 
Tennessee, Mr. A. V. Brown; Kentucky, Mr. Richard French; 
Arkansas, Mr. E. Cross; Ohio, Mr. S. Medairy; Indiana, Mr. 
W. A. Bolle; Illinois, Mr. D. Buckmaster; Missouri, Mr. J. Miller; 
Michigan, Mr. O. V. Dibble. 

The committee on credentials reported the number of dele- 
gates attending from Maine 9, New Hampshire 6, Massachusetts 
12, Vermont 6, Rhode Island 4, Connecticut 6, New York 36, 
New Jersey 7, Pennsylvania 26, Delaware 2, Maryland 8, Vir- 
ginia 53, Georgia 10, Alabama 5, Mississippi 14, Louisiana 2, 
Tennessee 13, Kentucky 29, Ohio 23, Indiana 12, Illinois 9, Michi- 
gan 5, Missouri 8, Arkansas 3; total 308. 

The committee on permanent organization reported the fol- 
lowing as the permanent officers of the convention: 

President, H. C. Wright, of Pennsylvania. 

Vice Presidents, S. Emory, of Maine; H. Hubbard, of New 
Hampshire; H. H. Childs, of Massachusetts; L. B. Hunt, of 
Vermont; O. Ballon, of Rhode Island; R. J. Ingersoll, of Con- 
necticut; Samuel Young, of New York; Jos. E. Edsell, of New 

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224 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Jersey; J. L. Dawson, of Pennsylvania; Wm. Frick, of Maryland; 
J. N. Sutton, of Delaware; W. H. Roane, of Virginia; R. M. 
Saunders, of North Carolina; J. H. Howard, of Georgia; B. G. 
Shields, of Alabama; P. Ellis, of Mississippi; T. M. Williams, 
of Louisiana; Cave Johnson, of Tennessee; Lynn Boyd, of Ken- 
tucky; Wm. S. Fullens, of Arkansas; N. Shomacher, of Ohio; 
E. A. Brown, of Indiana; J. Snow, of Illinois; J. Kaufifman, of 
Missouri; R. S. Wilson, of Michigan. 

Secretaries, Wm. F. Ritchie, of Virginia; T. B. Mitchell, of 
New York; G. A. Vroom, of New Jersey; C. A. Bradford, of Mis- 
sissippi; H. H. Carroll, of New Hampshire; W. D. Morgan, of 

Mr. Saimders, of North Carolina, proposed a resolution that 
the convention be governed by the rules of the convention of 
1832, which included the two-thirds rule, and over this motion 
a storm, raged for four hours, and on the convention's action on 
this motion depended the fate of Martin Van Buren for the nom- 
ination. It was known in advance that while Mr. Van Buren 
unquestionably had a majority in the convention, he could not 
get two- thirds, and if the two;thirds rule should be adopted, 
Mr. Van Biu-en would be a defeated man even before the first 
ballot was taken. The discussion was warm at times, but it 
was clear that the leaders were going to adopt the rules of the 
convention of 1832, and on the vote being taken by states, the 
rule was endorsed, and Van Buren instantly became a presidential 
corpse. The vote by states on the two-thirds rule was as follows: 

Yeas. Nays. Yeas. Nays. 

Maine 9 Alabama. 9 

New Hampshire 6 Mississippi 6 

Massachusetts.... 5 7 Louisiana 6 

Vermont 3 3 Tennessee 13 

Rode Island 2 2 Kentucky 12 

Connecticut 3 3 Ohio 23 

NewYork._.. 38 Indiana... 12 

New Jersey...- 7 Illinois 9 

Pennsylvania...... 12 13 Michigan. 5 

Delaware _ 3 Missouri 7 

Maryland 6 2 Arkansas.... 3 

Virginia.^- 17 

North Carolina.. 5 5 148 118 

Georgia.^ 10 

At half past one o'clock the convention adjourned to meet at 
three P. M. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnessbb History 225 

On re-convening at three o'clock the Convention proceeded to 
ballot. We recapitulate the vote down to and including the 7th 
ballot. There were 266 votes cast on each ballot, South Carolina 
not being represented, and 178 were necessary to a choice. 


Van John- Wood- Stew- Cal- Buch- 

Buren Cass son bury art houn anan 

1st ballot 151 84 24 2 1 6 4 

2ndballot 127 94 

3rd ballot- - 121 92 38 2 .. 2 11 

4th ballot -. Ill 105 32 .. .. 1 17 

5th ballot- 103 107 29 ._ .. 1 26 

6th ballot 101 116 23 .. 1 25 

7th ballot 99 123 21 .. .. 1 22 

An eighth ballot was called for but not taken until the next 
day. The convention adjoiuned to Wednesday, which was its 
third day, at nine o'clock A. M. In the interim after we may 
be sure many conferences, it was determined that Van Biu-en 
could not be nominated under the two-thirds rule and should be 
withdrawn, and James K. Polk placed in nomination in his stead. 

We will let George Bancroft tell what he did in this interim 
on behalf of Polk, in a letter addressed by him to J. George Harris 
on August 3, 1887. 


"Newport, R. I., August 30, 1887. 
**My dear Harris: 

**I was very much pleased at receiving your letter of the 25th 
of April. Of John Y. Mason, probably your opinion does not 
differ from mine, or rather my opinion does not differ from yours. 
Mason wished to stay in Polk's cabinet and the bond between 
them was, that they both had been educated together in the 
University of North Carolina and were I think of the same class; 
at any rate that was the reason Polk gave to me for his intimacy 
with him, and his excuse for having taken him and him alone 
from the old cabinet. 

"As to you, I remember very well that I gave you the best 
order to some large ship and good station, almost immediately 
on your appointment in the Navy, and what followed takes me 
by surprise because you should have had time enough at sea, 
so as to have become entitled to employment or rest on shore. 
Certainly I, yielding to various importunities or suggestions, had 
been very kind indeed to John Y. Mason and to his family, so 
that he never ought to have behaved unpleasantly towards a 
dear personal friend of mine. If I remember rightly, and I am 
sure that I do» on giving you your commission, I gave you the orders 


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226 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

which I knew you wished to receive; and had supposed that those 
orders would have secived you all that you wanted during Polk's 
administration. Certainly you were rightly entitled to have 
appealed to Polk himself, if he had but known as well as I did, 
how entirely Polk owed his nomination by the Democratic Con- 
vention to me. I do not know that I ever told you that I went 
into the nominating convention enjoying the perfect confidence 
of the delegation of Massachusetts, confidence that was so great 
that I might almost call it the power of direction. 

"Van Buren lost the nomination by his declaration against the 
annexation of Texas, which was not made better by his promising 
to annex Texas if the Democrats were determined to impose that 
condition on their candidate. In this way, by Van Biu-en's own 
acts, it became impossible to name him; and Virginia came out 
with a vote for Cass which was followed by others and was rapidly 
making great headway, and would soon have carried the day 
in the convention. But I knew perfectly well that Cass cotdd not 
have been elected. The hatred and jealousy which Van Buren 
bore him made it absolutely and undisputedly impossible for him 
to carry the State of New York, and without New York his success 
would have been desperate or rather impossible. Under thoSe 
circtunstances, I was the one who, of my own mind and choice, 
first, on the adjournment of the nominating convention, for the day 
resolved to secure the nomination of Polk. I went first and called 
our own delegation together, and they instantly and unanimously 
agreed 'v^ith me in his favor. I then went and saw the New York 
delegation, and they also perceived how the case lay; but of course 
needed to proceed with more caution and more complete deference 
to Mr. Van Buren *s wishes than those of any other State; but they 
looked at the case with exactly the same eyes as I did. Van Buren 
implacably detested the thought of Cass as a candidate. 

**I proceeded to the delegation of Tennessee and they naturally 
accepted the name of Polk joyfully and distributed among them- 
selves that part of the work which I thought they could best do. 
We went on in this manner; and I remember perfectly that we had 
gone to so many States with the nomination of Polk, and had met 
with such success that I knew his name would certainly be brought 
forward the next morning with the certainty of his gaining the 
nomination. I remember perfectly well meeting Charles Greene, 
of the Boston Post, about eleven o'clock of the night, explaining to 
him what I had done, of what States I had made myself sure, and 
those States were enough to decide the choice of the nominee. I 
remember this the more because he afterwards used to say of me 
generally, that I persisted in attention to a matter in hand until I 
finished it; and he said of this that I had come home to the inn 
ready to retire only after I had completed the work I had under- 
taken and made sure of the residt of the next day, the substitution 
of the name of Polk as the Democratic candidate. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnesskb History 227 

"Now, my good friend, my most decided preference for Polk 
had too its cause, that I thought him a statesman, far, very far, 
superior to Cass. My intimacy with him was entirely connected 
with you, was not indeed first inspired by you, as I knew him before 
I knew you, but was indeed connected with you and proceeded in 
perfect harmony with you. When you foimd yourself receiving 
orders such as should not be given you by Mason, you ought to have 
written me in England, where I was, and still more you ought to 
have gone directly to Polk and claimed a reversal of the orders. 

**I safely received and have worked away very industriously and 
thoroughly on Polk's papers. His character shines out in them 
just exactly as the man he was, prudent, far-sighted, bold, excelling 
any Democrat of his day in his imdeviatingly correct exposition of 
the Democratic principles; and, in short, as I think, judging of him 
as I knew him, and judging of him by the results of his adminis- 
tration, one of the very foremost of oiu* public men and one of the 
very best and most honest and most successful Presidents the 
coimtry ever had. 

**If my life and mind should hold out so as to enable me to 
write a concise history of Polk's administration, what help could 
you render me in the imdertaking? 

"Present me most kindly to Mrs. Polk when you see her. 
Ever affectionately your friend, 
"J. Geo. Harris, Esq., "GEO. BANCROFT. 

Nashville, Tennessee. 

On Wednesday, the 29th, Polk's name was placed in nomina- 
tion for the 8th ballot, and he received 44 votes, and there was still 
no nomination. The Virginia and Pennsylvania delegations asked 
leave to retire for consultation. 

The roll call for the 9th ballot began and various States re- 
quested to be passed. The voting progressed until thirteen States 
had voted as follows : 


New Hampshire 



Rhode Island 


New Jersey...- 







20 74 




















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228 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnessbb History 

The Virginia delegation was the first of the consulting delega- 
tions to retiun, and announced to the convention that it would 
await the New York delegation which, on arriving, Mr. Roane, 
Chairman of the Virginia delegation, annoimced that his delega- 
tion had concluded to cast its vote for James K. Polk, upon which 
there was much cheering. 

Mr. Butler, of New York, responded to Mr. Roane, and in- 
formed the convention of the proceedings of his State delegation; 
paid a personal compliment to Mr. Roane and his ancestry; to Vir- 
ginia as a State; to Thomas Jefferson; passed eloquent eulogiums 
on Mr. Van Buren and Gen. Jackson, giving an account of some 
conversation he had with the latter on the occasion of his recent 
visit to the Hermitage. He also stated the fact that he had in his 
possession a letter from Mr. Van Biu^n (which was kept entirely 
secret from his colleagues) authorizing him to withdraw his name 
from the convention at any moment such a step might be necessary 
to its harmonious action; and, coming to this hall this morning, he 
had taken the advice of Pennsylvania and other States on this 
subject, and with their consent and advice, had determined to 
withdraw him, and thus relieve his friends from fmther difficulty 
and embarrassment, (loud cheering). He then indicated the vote 
he was about to give; eulogized James K. Polk; explained his own 
views on what constituted the true Democratic doctrine ; advocated 
construction of the constitution; denied the right of exercising any 
implied powers; said Mr. Polk was the most available condidate — 
available in the highest degree — and that he could carry New York 
by at least 15,000 majority. Her delegation, he said, would cast 
thirty-five votes in his favor, the remaining member preferring to 
to vote a blank. In explaining the motives which had operated 
upon him (Mr. B.) in so earnestly pressing the claims of Mr. Van 
Buren, he alluded to Gen. Jackson's opinion concerning that dis- 
tinguished gentleman as expressed to him during his visit to the 
Hermitage, and from whom he had received a letter on the subject 
since he had reached the convention, by the hands of a relative of 
Gen. Jackson, who was a member of the Tennessee delegation. 
The conclusion of this letter was read by Mr. B., and is substan- 
tially as follows: 

'*May God bless you, my dear friend, and preside over the de- 
liberations of the convention, and may its labors result in recon- 
ciling all differences of opinion and uniting its members in the 
nomination of Mr. Van Buren." 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tknnbssbs History 229 

After Mr. Butler's speech, Mr. Dickinsoiii of New York, arose 
and gave New York's thirty-five votes to Mr. Polk. 

. All the States which were passed on the first call of the roll 
now voted and gave their votes to Mr. Polk, and some States 
which had voted for another candidate changed their votes to 
Polk, and it was announced by the President that 266 votes had 
been cast and 178 were necessary to a choice, and that James K. 
Polk had received 266 votes. 

nomination for vice-president. 

That afternoon the convention nominated Silas Wright, of New 
York, for Vice-President, giving him 256 votes, and adjourned for 
the day. The Georgia delegation cast 2 votes for Mr. Wright and 
8 for Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire. 

The next morning Benjamin F. Butler, of New York, read a 
letter which he had just received from Mr. Wright. 


"Washington, the 29th of May, 1884. 
'*My Dear Sir: Being advised that the convention of which 
you are a member has coi^erred upon, me the unmerited honor of 
nominating me as a candidate for the office of Vice-President, will 
you, if this information is correct, present my profound thanks to 
the convention for this mark of confidence and favor, and say for 
me that circumstances which I do not think it necessary to detail 
to you, but which I very briefly hint at to you (in another private 
ktter to Mr. Butler) render it impossible that I should, consistently 
with my sense of public duty and private obligations, accept this 

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant, 
Hon. B. F. Butler. m'SILAS WRIGHT. 

The convention then balloted again for Vice-President for 
two ballots: first ballot. Gov. Fairfield, of Missouri, 107; Wood- 
bury, of New Hampshire, 44; Cass, of Michigan, 39; Richard M. 
Johnson, of Kentucky, 26; Commodore Stewart, of Pennsylvania, 
23; G. M. Dallas, of Philadelphia, 13; Gov. Marcy, of New York, 
5 ; no choice. 

Second baUot, G. M. DaUas, 220; Gov. Fairfield, 30; Wood- 
bury, 6; So Dallas was nominated. 

In the election which followed in November, Polk and DaUas 
received the electoral votes of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illi- 
nois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missotui, 
New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and 

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230 Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 

Virginia, total 170. Clay and Frelinghuysen received the electoral 
vote of Connecticut, Deleware, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachu- 
setts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee 
and Vermont; total 105 

The convention appointed a committee to notify the nominees 
of their nomination and the following letter was sent to Mr. Polk 
at Columbia, Tennessee. 

notification letter to polk. 

''Baltimore, May 29, 1844. 
"Sir: At a Democratic national convention of delegates from 
the several States of this Union, convened on the 27th instant, and 
now sitting in the city of Baltimore, for the piuTX)se of nominating 
candidates to be supported for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency 
of the United States at the ensuing election, the Hon. James K. 
Polk, of Tennessee, having been designated by the whole number 
of votes given, to be the candidate of the Democrati party for the 
President of the United States, was .declared to be unanimously 
nominated for that office. 

"The undersigned were appointed a committee to request yoiu* 
acceptance of the nomination thus tmanimously tendered to you; 
and they cannot forbear to express the high gratification which 
they experience in the performance of this duty, and the hope which 
they confidently entertain, in common with their colleagues of the 
convention, that the devotion to the cause of Democratic principles 
which has always characterized your conduct, will not suffer you 
to turn a deaf ear to the call of our country, when, in a manner 
so honorable to yourself, she demands your distinguished ser- 
vices. We have the honor to be your obedient servants. 

"Committee of the Democratic National Convention at Balti- 
Hon. J. K. Polk, Columbia, Tennessee. 

folk's letter op acceptance. 

Colimibia, Tenn., June 12, 1844. 

Gentlemen : I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 
29th idtimo, informing me that the Democratic National Conven- 
tion, then assembled at Baltimore, had designated me to be the 
candidate of the Democratic Party for President of the United 
States, and that I had been unanimously nominated for that office. 

*lt has been well observed, that the office of President of the 
United States should never be sought nor declined. I have never 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 231 

sought it, nor shall I feel at liberty to decline it, if conferred upon 
me by the voluntary suffrages of my fellow citizens. In accepting 
the nomination, I am deeply impressed with the distinguished 
honor which has been conferred upon me by my republican friends, 
and am duly sensible of the great and mighty responsibilities which 
must ever devolve on any citizen who may be called to fill the high 
station of President of the United States. 

**I deem the present to be a proper occasion to declare, that if 
the nomination made by the convention shall be confirmed by the 
people, and result in my election, I shall enter upon the discharge 
of the high and solemn duties of the office with the settled purpose 
of noi b^g a candidate for re-election. In the event of my elec- 
tion, it shaU be my constant aim, by a strict adherence to the old 
republican landmarks, to maintain and preserve the public pros- 
perity, and at the end of four years, I am resolved to retire to 
private life. In assuming this position, I feel that I not only im- 
pose on myself a salutary restraint, but that I take the most effec- 
tive means in my power of enabling the Democratic party to make 
a free selection of a successor who may be best calculated to give 
effect to their will, and guard all the interests of our beloved coun- 

**With great respect, I have the honor to be. 

Your ob't servant, 

"To Messrs. Henry Hubbard, Wm. H. Roane, Benjamin H. Brew- 
ster, Romulus M. Saunders, Robert Rantoul, Jr., committee 
of the Democratic National Convention at Baltimore. 


"Boston, July 6, 1844. 

"The last time I had the pleasure of conversing with you was 
a fine frosty morning when, after our long interview, we took a 
quiet walk just before you were leaving the scene of your fourteen 
years' service for the arduous and to you most glorious campaign 
of 1839. I watched your progress with intense interest, made 
the more near and personal by the zeal of oiu- friend Harris, and I 
shared in the exultation that followed your unexampled success. 

"My eye was immediately turned toward you for the service of 
the nation and our Massachusetts democracy, which at any rate 
has to rely on firm opinions and men to meet the immense oppo- 
sition of the fairest and wealthiest aristocracy of our country, and 
which at all times has the hearty sympathy of its friends in New 
England, very readily received and acted upon the suggestion of 
rallying aroimd you on the ticket with Van Biu-en. uie conven- 
tion of 1840 most imwisely did not make the nomination and by 
that neglect greatly weakened the ticket. 

"This year before the assemblying of the National Convention 
of which body I was delegate for the State, I did not fail to put 
mjrself in correspondence with my friends of New Hampshire and 

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232 Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 

New York and other States; and while some friends of Mr. V. B. 
seemed to think that R. M. Johnson should be nominated, V.-P. ; 
I took every occasion to express the opinion, in which I fotmd after- 
wards, that Gen. Jackson coincided, that the choice should fall to 
none other than yourself. Mr. Wright of New York encouraged 
me in concentrating opinion on you. 

*'At the convention I immediately exchanged a few words with 
our friend Gen. Pillow, of your Neighborhood, who conducted him- 
self throughout with the modesty and firmness, which deserved 
the highest commendation; and I renewed my old acquaintance 
with Gen.Donelson. I was able to assure them that on the first 
ballot for V.-P. Massachusetts would certainly throw ten, possibly 
twelve votes for yourself. 

**You know the events of Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday 
many of my friends gave way to despair. Cass was game. R. 
M. Johnson and all doubtful ones, were ready to join him; this 
would have swelled his vote to 157, and then it would have seemed 
fractious to have held out. It flashed on my mind that it would 
be alone safe to rally on you. This I mentioned to my friend, Mr. 
Carrol, of Concord, New Hampshire, who fell into it heartily. We 
spoke with Gov. Hubbard; he agreed; and the N. H. delegation 
were fixed. I then opened the matter to our excellent friend. Gov. 
Morton of our delegation, and he coincided, and his coinciding 
was very important. I then went to your faithful friends. Gen. 
Pillow and Donelson. They informed me that if we, of N. E. 
would lead off, they woujd follow with Mississippi and Alabama 
and some others. , Mississippi hesitated. 

* 'Certain of this, I repaired with Gen. Donelson and Pillow to 
the house where the delegations of Ohio and New York, and I 
spent the time till midnight in arguing with them. Mr. Medary 
saw the bearings of the matter, and before I left the hotel, assured 
me his delegation would go for Polk rather than for Cass. With 
many of the New York delegation I spoke, but opened the matter 
most fully to our friend Governor Kemble, who I think was in 
Congress with you. You may suppose that the N. Y. delegation 
was in a great state of agitation. Kemble was calm and decided. 
After hearing me at length, he gave in his adhesion decidedly to 
my views of the duty of V. B's. supporters and such were his 
statements, that I returned to my lodgings. 

*1 retiuned to my lodgings before midnight tranquil and happy. 
I enjoyed as quiet sleep as you did on the night before your journey 
to Warrensburg. In the morning I saw my friend Fink, State 
delegate of Maryland, who heartily came into the scheme, and 
Pillow, I believe, and I certainly spoke with the principal delegates 
from Louisiana, who was at once hearty for the course. 

"It came to voting. You should have heard the cheers as 
Hubbard, for N. H. and I, for Massachusetts, annotmced the 
whole vote of N. H., I the majority of Massachusetts. But the 
thing that pleased me most was, to see the Virginia delegation, all 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 233 

vehement for Cass taken aback, and I had the feeling of triumph 
as I saw Roane lead out his Virginia train to consult, and rettun to 
announce a change of vote from Cass to yourself. 

**0n reaching home, I met my constituents in Faneuil Hall, 
largest Democratic meeting I ever saw there; they listened to my 
tale for an hour and a half, and broke the silence only by bursts 
of delight at the nominations. 

"By the special invitation of our N. H. friends, I went to their 
great ratification meeting, where I foimd your hearty and ardent 
friend, Franklin Pierce, a man of true metal, a fine fellow, when 
in Congress with you; but improved in talent and power by assid- 
uous culture. Here was the same enthusiasm. 

**Day before yesterday I was at Worcester: a great gathering: 
and but one heart. 

**You will be pleased, I am sure, to know that Mr. Van Buren 
most heartily in conversation and with his pen zealously advocates 
your election. Yesterday I received from him a long letter, from 
which I quote confidentially the following words: 

** *The success of a nominee is of vital importance to the countiy 
That they will succeed I have not the slightest doubt. In this 
State, imless we get into a distracted snarl about our Governor 
(which I do not anticipate) oiu- success will be very great. It is 
not possible that oiu- friends could be more zealous 

**You can have little leisure to write; were you to find a mom- 
ent's time, I shotdd be charmed to receive a letter from you. But 
at any rate, you may rely on the enthusiastic and determined 
support of the Democracy of New England." 

The progress of the campaign brought forth some curious 
arguments by the respective sides. One of these arguments made 
by the Whigs for the defeat of Polk was that Polk's ancestors 
in North Carolina had been Tories during the Revolutionary 
War, and the Democratic State Central Committee of Tennessee 
evidently took the argument seriously, for they issued a pamphlet 
in defense, especially of Ezekiel Polk, the grandfather of the 
Democratic nominee. 

This assault on Polk's ancestors is referred to, among other 
things, in a letter written by Jeremiah George Harris, commonly 
known in the history of the times as J. George Harris, addressed 
to George Bancroft : 


"My Dear Mr. Bancroft :- 

**Mr. Polk, as I knew him from the time he became a candidate 
for Governor of Tennessee to the time of his inaugiiration to the 
Presidency, was not only one of the most active politicans I ever 
knew, but was ever careful of his own record — always striving to 

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234 Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 

be consistent in his advocacy of the principles and policy of JeflFer- 
son. He made the issue with the Whigs like that of the Repub- 
licans of 1800 with the Federalist, holding that we had nothing to 
fear so much as a too strong government, and an infringement upon 
the rights reserved for the States and the people by the Constitu- 
tion, which the Whigs inclined to favor. You know it was the 
popular side of politics in the South at that time Clay's Whigism 
was made to appear as odious as Hamilton's Federalism and Polk 
labored throughout all his speeches to show they were identical 
in principle. He denominated the opposition leaders in Tennessee 
who had not yet gone entirely over to Clay but had stopped with 
Judge White at what Gen. Jackson called *the half-way bouse' 
as the Federal Whig Leaders of Tennessee, and freely quoted from 
the writings of Jefferson to show that they were the old Federalists 
imder another name. And before the coming of election day a 
majority of the voters embraced his opinions, as shown at the polls. 

**Mr. Polk was greatly assisted in his electioneering speeches 
throughout the State by his ever careful and accomplished wife, 
who shared his ambition and in his absence was custodian of his 
documents and papers useful in debate. She knew where every 
authority was that he might want to refer to, and if written to, by 
him on his electioneering tours, could lay her hand on what he 
wanted and forward it to him, nor was this a difficult task for the 
perfect order in which they were kept and labelled was a part of 
that method in all things for which he was remarkable. 

"His physical endurance in his first Govematorial campaign 
of 1839 was truly wonderful. For three or four months prior to the 
August election he was constantly in the saddle — and rode into 
every Coimty of the State from the Virginia line to the Mississippi 
River, making sometines as many as two or three speeches a day, 
and sleeping in the rude log cabins by the roadside wherever he 
could find shelter and feed for his horse. On several occasions the 
people would assemble in the road on hearing that he was to come 
riding along, where he would dismount and make them a speech. 
He had a happy faculty of turning the periods of his argiunentative 
speeches with illustrating and amusing stories which the plain and 
honest people always received with great applause — and his telling 
anecdotes which suited his argiunents in the minds of his hearers, 
were always chosen to suit the character of the crowd addressed. 
In arguments before the people he was generally dignified and 
statesmanlike, commanding attention and respect; but when clinch- 
ing the argument with a rustic anecdote, he descended to the pop- 
ular level by grimaces and the peculiar patois of the hiUs and 
hollows, he never failed to convulse his audience which he so well 
understood. His electioneering speeches were always adapted to 
the locality in which jie was speaking and the character of the 
crowd he was addressing. 

"But the 'coonskin campaign' of 1842, with its big balls, coons, 
hard cider and the like, which resulted in the election of Harrison, 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 235 

was a little too much for him. I heard him say that no matter how 
somid and convincing the argument in debate, a fellow from the 
mountains would spring up in the audience, pull a coon*s skin from 
his pocket, give it a blow of his breath and exclaim *Did you ever 
see such fine fur?' which would knock all the strength out of his 
argument! At our defeat he was very much disgusted. 

**In the Presidential campiagn, Mr. Polk was made uneasy by 
the misrepresentations of the opposition — ^writing me from Col- 
umbia almost every day to correct them ; giving me facts and asking 
me to knock them into shape for publication. He was very much 
exercised when the opposition assailed the memory of his North 
Carolina ancestors as though they were tories — and was indefatig- 
able in producing proof wWch he did that they were true patriots 
and participated in the Revolutionary War. He did not care to 
be prominent or even visible in such corrections but called upon 
his friends to make them upon evidence that he fimiished. His 
life was upright — his course as a public man carefully guarded and 
consistent — and hence his great sensitiveness to imjust criticism. 
It was apparent that the Presidency placed him under controlling 
influences that he could not avoid and which never governed him 
before — influences that he was in honor bound to respect. 

"Sitting at my table this quiet Sabbath afternoon, and thinking 
how it can be possible to aid you to any extent in the preparation 
of your history of Polk's administration, I have roughly been telling 
you of some events that may perhaps inspire in you a line of thought 
and give rise to an idea that had not occured to you. And yet I 
cannot suppose that I can add to your knowledge of Polk. I have 
adverted to incidents in his hfe before he became President, when 
perhaps I knew him more intimately than you did and may have 
struck a new vein in some extent. 

**I could tell you of some small matters in the way of anecdote 
that might amuse you, but which are not pertinent to sober history. 
I will however take the liberty of adverting to one. 

** After the Democratic Legislature, elected with him in 1839, 
had assembled and organized, Gov. Polk stepped into my office one 
morning and asked me how I would like to go with him and take a 
look at it. I replied that it would afford me great pleasure, es- 
pecially with the Governor of the State. As we entered the House 
of Representatives, the doorkeeper announced: 'The Governor of 
the State and Col. Harris of the Union.' The venerable Speaker 
rose and said: 'Invite the gentlemen to step within the little railing 
around the Speaker's seat.' A yoimg man was at the time making 
a speech, poimding his desk, and denouncing the aristocracy. I 
asked the Governor in a whisper who he was. He replied 'that is 
a tailor from Greene who was opposed to us a year ago but is now 
one of my most efficient friends — I wish you would look out for 
him.' So pulling out my tablet, I kept the run of his somewhat 
incoherent speech, leaving out that which I thought did not adorn 
it, and with words of commendation printed it in the Union. He 

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236 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

seemed to be so much pleased with my report, but said / had not 
told all he said! This Representative from Greene, dressed in his 
suit of Kentucky jeans made by himself, was Andrew Jackson. 

"If, in preparing your history, you should desire any infoipna- 
tion upon a particular point that I may tmderstand, bearing on his 
career here in Tennessee, you know, my great and good friend, that 
you have only to ask or rather tell me to afford it. I shall respond 
with pleasure. 

** Always your friend, 

''Nashville, Tenn., 50 So. Spruce St., 

Sept. 17, 1887. 


Jeremiah George Harris was a native of New London, Conn., 
where he was bom October 23, 1809. He was of English descent. 
After becoming of age he was the editor of newspapers in Connec- 
ticut and Massachusetts before he came to Tennessee, and became 
known as a writer of ability and his services were sought by politic- 
ians in Washington who were interested in making Tennessee 
again a Democratic State. In the winter of 1838-9, plans were 
formed to redeem Tennessee from the domination of the Whigs, 
and after the fourth of March, when his term as Congressman 
expired, James K. Polk came home and declared hinself a candidate 
for Governor of Tennessee at the election to be held in August; 
and to help along the plans of the Democrats, Jeremiah George 
Harris was engaged to become editor of "The Nashville Union'*, 
and he came to Nashville in January, 1839, and took charge of the 
paper. The contest for Governor was a robust, aggressive and 
ardent contest, and Polk defeated Governor Cannon, and the 
Democrats carried both branches of the State Legislature. 

Harris* services as editor were very highly prized by the success- 
ful Democrats, who were of the opinion that he had no equal as an 
editor in Tennessee. In 1842 he married a daughter of James Mc- 
Gavock, of Nashville, and in 1843 he was commissioned by Daniel 
Webster, then Secretary of State, as United States Commercial 
Agent in Europe, and went abroad in that capacity. He came 
back to America in 1844 and conducted **The Union" during the 
Presidential campaign which resulted in the election of Polk. In 
1845 he was appointed Disbursing Officer of the Navy, which posi- 
tion, with others in the Navy, he held for the rest of his life. 

The Democratic State Central Committee secured depositions 
and statements and affidavits from many persons in Tennessee, 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 237 

North Carolina, South Carolina and other places, in vindication 
of the Polk family. Among others, they secured from Andrew 
Jackson a letter for publication. We present the introductory 
part of the pamphlet above referred to and Jackson's letter as 
curious illustrations of the ways of politics among our ancestors. 







"Published and prepared by order of the Tennessee State 
Central Committee. 

"In all commimities, and in all ages of the world, there has 
existed a class of men, who, suffering imder a galling sense of 
conscious inferiority, and despairing of improving Qieir own condi- 
tion by a course of manly and virtuous conduct, prostitute them- 
selves to the ignoble purpose of detracting from merits and defam- 
ing the character of the virtuous, the patriotic, and the good. Has 
any one attained a niche in the temple of fame, to which the base 
and vicious dare not aspire, he becomes at once an object of their 
calumny and detraction. Time and truth and justice rarely fail 
to expose the motives, and counteract the effect of the assaults. 
Tested by fire the crucible metals become more pure and brilliant, 
and coin is often not known to be genuine, until subjected to this 
ordeal. It is so with the character of men. In our country, and 
especially in seasons of political excitement, illiberal opponents 
traduce and villify, whilst honorable and candid men of all parties 
will scrutinize the facts and ultimately award a just verdict. 

"The false and caluminous charges which have recently been 
made against the revolutionary character and services of Col. 
Ezekiel Polk, are intended not so much to defame the patriotic 
dead, as to effect the popularity and well-earned fame of his grand- 
son, James K. Polk, who has been presented by the Democratic 
party to the people of the United States as their c&ndidate for the 
Presidency. How ignoble the piu-pose, and how despicable the 
means resorted to to effect it. The charge is not only unsustained 
by proof, but fortimately the evidence is still in existence to show 
that it is caluminous and wickedly false. It has been the fortune 
of James K. Polk, the Democratic candidate for the Presidency, 
to have passed repeatedly through the firey ordeal of the closest 
scrutiny while canvassing for public station before the people. He 
has had on every occasion competitors and political opponents who 

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238 Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tbnnbssee History 

have with eagle eyes examined every act of his life. His conduct 
in all private relations of citizen, neighbor, son, husband, brother, 
friend; his official acts as Representative in the State Legislatiu-e, 
and in the Congress of the Uhited States for fourteen successive 
years, and as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and as 
Governor of Tennessee, have all been the subject of public exam- 
ination; and even his political opponents admit that he has passed 
through the scrutiny with a character, private and public, pure and 
imspotted. Not a stain rests upon his escutcheon — ^not a blot 
sullies the purity of his fair fame. In the private relations of life, 
he is known to be as amiable and worthy, as in public and official 
acts he is admitted to be consistent and irreproachable. In the 
private circles of society he shares largely, not only in the respect, 
but in the esteem of those politically opposed to him. It is cer- 
tainly a matter of congratulation and of pride to the friends of 
James K. Polk, that in the midst of the riEincor of political animos- 
ity, and the assaults of partisan warfare, the more reckless of his 
political opponents, having sought in vain for any part of his own 
conduct in life which they can successfully assail, have been driven 
to the disgraceful necessity of invading ttie sanctity of the tomb, 
of digging up the smoldering bones of one of his ancestors, who has 
slept with his fathers for near a quarter of a centiuy ; and by assail- 
ing his character, and making false representations of his conduct 
in the glorious War of the Revolution, seek to make political capi- 
tal against his grandson. This infamous attempt has met with 
few apologists in the Whig party in Tennessee, where James K. 
Polk is best known. To their honor and credit be it spoken that 
most of them have refused to. stoop to such means, and repudiate 
it as unworthy of their cause. Their leading presses have refused 
to lend themselves to purposes so ignoble and base. It is a sin 
against nature, Demortius nil nisi bonum, is a mixim which finds 
a cordial response in every manly and patriotic bosom. The 
charges made against the memory of Col. Ezekiel Polk are for acts 
on his part falsely alleged to have occiu-ed twenty years before 
James K. Polk was bom, and half a century before he entered the 
stormy sea of political life. They made, too, twenty years after 
the death of Ezekiel Polk, and must, therefore, even if true, 
when levelled at the fame of his grandson, fall harmless at his feet. 
But they are not true, and justice to the memory of the patriotic 
dead, the Whig soldier of the Revolution, and the outraged feelings 
of a very numerous and respectable family of the direct and collat- 
eral lines, embracing in it many members of both the present pol- 
itical parties of respectable and imblemished character, as well as 
the sacred demands of truth, require that the reputation of the 
slandered dead shall be vindicated. 

"The charge when first made, was that Samuel Polk, the father 
of James K. Polk, was a tory in the Revolution. It was soon, how- 
ever, ascertained that Samuel Polk was not born until the year 
1772, and was not three years old when the War of the Revolution 

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Andrbw Jackson and Eari^y Tennbsseb History 239 

broke out. That was abandoned, and then the charge was made 
that Kzekiel Polk, the grand father, and not the father, was a tory. 
The charge against the one was as false as against the other. The 
numerous posterity and collateral relations of the late Col. Ezekiel 
Polk may well be proud of his history, and especially of his patriotic 
conduct in the War of the Revolution. They only may not object, 
but now, that the charge is made, they may confidently and proudly 
demand that the fullest possible examination shall be fairly and 
impartially had. 

**In the Revolutionary history of the Carolinas the name of 
Polk has always been intimately associated with patriotism, valor, 
public spirit, a firm and unyeilding attachment to the cause of the 
colonies, strugghng to break the bonds of British oppression and 
to establish free government. In a volume published by the Gov- 
ernor of North Carolina, and by the direction of the General As- 
sembly of that State," it is fully established that a Declaration of 
Independence and resolutions, were passed by the citizens of 
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, (the residence of the Polk 
family) on the 20th of May, 1775, by which they absorbed them- 
selves from all allegiance to the British Crown, and 'declared 
themselves a free, sovereign, and self-governing association.' 
These bold and patriotic proceedings were sustained and carried 
through by the leading and most influential men of that County, 
and amongst others, by two brothers, Thomas and Ezekiel Polk. 
The proof of this is most incontrovertible. 

Jackson's letter was as follows: 


^'Hermitage, July 12, 1844. 

"I have just received your letter of the 30th ultimo, informing 

me that recently declared *that he traveled 

through Tennessee at the time Gov. Polk was for the first time a 
candidate for Governor, and that his opponents (the Whigs) then 
brought the charge of his grandfather's being a tory against him, 
and fiiat the Democrats of Tennessee met the charge by throwing 
it upon the North Carolina brandi of the Polk family, that is, Col. 
Thomas Polk,' and you desire me to state for your information, 
and that of the people, what I know of the facts. In reply I state 
with pleasure that I know all the old stock of Polks — Col. Thomas 
Polk, father of Col. William Polk, and Ezekiel Polk, grandfather 
of Col. James K. Polk. They were all good 1776 Whigs. Old 
Col. Thomas Polk was the first mover of independence in Meck- 
lenburg County. All the Polks then grown were good 1776 Whigs; 
and Col. Polk, son of Thomas, was twice wounded in the War of 
the Revolution, and I think he had a brother killed in battle. I 
never knew one branch of the family to be charged with torjdsm 

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240 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssse History 

before. If such a rumor was circulated during the canvass referred 
to, I never heard of it. 

**I am gratified thus to be able to give my testimony to the 
Revolutionary services arid patriotism of the Polk family, with 
many of whose members I have been intimate the greater part of 
my life. . 

'*It seems that in these times no character is safe against the 
slanderer, for there never was less excuse for it than in the case of 
Mr. Polk. I have known him since he was a boy. A citizen more 
exemplary in his moral deportment, more punctual and exact in 
business, more energetic and manly in expression of his opinions, 
and more patriotic, does not live. 

**I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 


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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 241 


James Knox Polk— Whigs in Election of 1844— John 
Tyler Election of 1844. 


The Tennessee Whigs began to prepare for the great Whig 
Convention to be held at Baltimore on May 1, 1844, by holding 
conventions at both Nashville and Knoxville on February 22nd. 
The Nashville Whig exulted over the gathering at Nashville in 
this Style: 

"It was in truth a great and glorious gathering, composed 
of the bone and sinew of the land; of men of the first character 
and respectablity who were inspired with all that generous ardor 
and noble enthusiasm which characterizes men who are battling 
for the right. The nomination of IJenry Clay for the presidency 
was received with bursts of applause, there was no hesitation, no 
doubts of the expediency of the measure, the masses of the people 
are for him and their delegates in nominating him only gave dis- 
tinct utterance to the wishes and feelings of their constituents. 
In this matter there is but one feeling among the Whigs through- 
out the State, they are for *Clay first, Clay last and Clay at all 
Times.' " 

The East Tennessee Whigs met at Knoxville for the purpose 
of forming an electoral ticket for that portion of the State and 
appointing delegates to the National Whig Convention. Hon. 
William Heiskell of Monroe Coimty was elected president of the 
convention, which continued in session for two days, and much 
important business for the Whig party was transacted. 

Hon. Thomas A. R. Nelson, of Washington County, was 
chosen elector for the First Congressional District; Robert Hynds, 
of Jefferson County, for the Second District; and Hon. John H. 
Crozier, of Knox County, for the Third District. In addition 
to these, a number of Whigs were selected as assistant electors 
in each congressional district. 

Hon. William G. Brownlow was chosen as a delegate to the 
Whig National Convention at Baltimore, from the First Congres- 

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242 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

sional District; James M. Toole from the Second Congressional 
District, and Luke Lea from the Third Congressional District. 

The alternates elected for these three were Charles H. Coffin, 
Daniel L. Coffin and James Williams. 

THE WHIG convention. 

The Whig National Convention met in the City of Baltimore 
May 1, 1844, for the purpose of nominating candidates for Presi- 
dent and Vice-President of the United States at the presidential 
election in the following November. The convention was held 
in the Universalist Church and assembled at eleven o'clock a. m. 
William Martin, Lewis P. Williamson, George Glasscock, Jno. P. 
McCormick and W. B. Hoffa were the delegates from Tennessee. 

Honorable Ambrose Spencer of New York was elected presi- 
dent of the convention and a vice-president for each State in the 
union was chosen, the vice-president from Tennessee being William 
Martin, and C. C. Norvell from Tennessee was elected one of the 

After this permanent organization was effected the convention 
lost no time in carrying out the purpose for which it came together, 
which was to nominate Henry Clay of Kentucky for President. The 
honor of placing Clay in nomination fell to Mr. Leigh of Virginia, 
who rose and made an address to the convention in which he 
stated that the Whig party of the United States was so decidedly 
in favor of Henry Clay for the presidency that it would be un- 
necessary to go through with the usual form of nomination. 
He thereupon offered a resolution declaring Mr. Clay the unani- 
mous choice of the Whig party for the presidency and the people 
of the United States were invited to come to his support. This 
resolution of course was adopted with thunders of applause and 
cheering which continued for a long time. 

A motion was made that a committee be appointed to notify 
Mr. Clay of his nomination, which carried, and Messrs. Berrien 
of Georgia, Bamett of Ohio, Archer of Virginia, Lawrence of 
Massachusetts and Erastus Root of New York composed the 
committee. Mr. Stout of New York proposed that Mr. Clay be 
requested to appear in Baltimore the next day before the coimtless 
thousands who would then and there be assembled to ratify the 
the nomination. Thereupon Mr. Johnson produced a letter from 
Mr. Clay and Mr. Stout withdrew his motion. 

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Henry Clay's Monument at Lexington, Kentucky. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 243 

"Washington, April 29, 1844. 
"My dear sir: 

"I cannot reconcile it to my sense of delicacy and propriety 
to attend either of the Whig conventions this week in Baltimore. 
Such is my deliberate judgment, and I hope my friends will 
acquiesce in my determination and not urge me to revoke it, 
which I cannot do. "Yours respectfully, 

"To R. Johnson, Esquire, Baltimore." "H. CLAY. 

The convention then took up the question of how to nominate 
a candidate for Vice-President and the discussion ended in the 
decision that the roll of delegates be called and as the name of 
each delegate was called he should vote for the candidate of his 
choice for Vice-President. 

The total niunber of votes given was 275 and 138 was necessary 
to a choice and there were three ballots. On the fibrst ballot 
John Sergeant received 38 votes, Millard Fillmore 53, John Davis 
83 and Theodore Frelinghuysen 101. No choice. 

On the second ballot John Sergeant received 32 votes, Millard 
Fillmore 57, John Davis 74, Theodore Frelinghuysen 118. No 

The name of John Sergeant was withdrawn and on the third 
ballot John Davis received 76 votes, Millard Fillmore 40 and 
Theodore Frelinghuysen 155. Whereupon the president of the 
convention announced that Frelinghuysen was the nominee of 
the convention for Vice-President. 


Reverdy Johnson of Maryland presented resolutions which he 
said constituted the principles of the Whig Party and of the 
candidates nominated, and moved that they be adopted as the 
Whig platform in the coming election: 

** Resolved, That in presenting^ to the country the names of 
HENRY CLAY for president, and of THEODORE FRELING- 
HUYSEN for vice-president of the United States, this Convention 
is actuated by the convictions that all the great principles of the 
Whig party — ^principles inseparable from the public honor and 
prosperity — ^will be maintained and advanced by these candidates. 

** Resolved, That these principles may be summed up as com- 
prising a well regulated national currency; a tarifif or revenue 
to defray the necessary expenses of the government, and dis- 
criminating with special reference to the protection of the do- 
mestic labor of the country; the distribution of the 
proceeds of the sales of public lands; a single term for the 
presidency; a reform of executive usiupations — and, generally — 

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244 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbe History 

such an administration of the affairs of the country as shall 
impart to every branch of the public service the greatest practi- 
cable efficiency, controlled by a well regulated and wise economy. 

''Resolved, That the name of HENRY CLAY needs no eulogy; 
the history of the country since his first appearance in public 
life is his history; its brightest pages in prosperity and success 
are indentified with the principles which he has upheld, as its 
darkest and more disastrous pages are with every material de- 
parture in our public policy from those principles. 

''Resolved, That in THEODORE FRELINGHUYSEN we 
present a man pledged alike by his revolutionary ancestry and 
his own public course to every measure calculated to sustain the 
honor and interest of the country. Inheriting the principles as 
well as the name of a father who, with Washington, on the fields 
of Trenton and of Monmouth, periled life in the contest for 
liberty, and afterwards, as a senator of the United States, acted 
with Washington in establishing and perpetuating that liberty — 
THEODORE FRELINGHUYSEN, by his course as Attorney 
General of the State of New Jersey for twelve years, and subse- 
quently as senator of the United States for several years, was 
always strenuous on the side of law, order, and the constitution, 
while as a private man, his head, his hand, and his heart have 
been given without stint to the cause of morals, education, 
philanthropy and religion." 

The committee on the notification of Mr. Clay of his nomi- 
nation performed their duty by correspondence. 

committee's letter. 

'^Baltimore, 1st May, 1844. 

**Sir: The grateful office of announcing to you the result of 
the dehberations of the National Whig Convention, this day 
assembled at this place, for the selection of a candidate for the 
office of president of the United States, at the approaching election 
has been, by that convention, assigned to us. 

**We perform it by communicating to you the accompanying 
copy of a resolution adopted unanimously, and by acclamation, 
by Uiat body, and we beg to add to it the expression of our earnest 
hope, that the wish of your assembled feUow citizens in which 
'all with one voice' have imited, and in which their personal 
feelings, and as they believe, the best interest of this great people 
are involved, may meet your prompt and cheerful acquiescence. 
We have the honor to be, very respectfully, your fellow citizens, 

"JOHN Mcpherson berrien, 

"Hon. Henry Clay." 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 245 


"Washington, 2nd May, 1844. 

"GENTLEMEN: I have the honor to acknowledge the 
receipt of your letter, dated yesterday at Baltimore, communi- 
cating that I have been nominated by the National Whig Con- 
vention there assembled, to the people of the United States, as a 
candidate for the office of President of the United States. Con- 
fidently believing that this nomination is in conformity with the 
desire of a majority of the people of the United States, I accept 
it, firom a high sense of auty, and with feelings of profoimd 
gratitude. I request you, gentlemen, in annoimcing to the con- 
vention my acceptance of the nomination to express the very great 
satifaction I derive from the unanimity with which it has been 

"I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, faithfully, 
your friend and fellow citizen. 

"H. CLAY. 

"Messrs. John McPherson Berrien, Erastus Root, J. Burnet, 
Wm. S. Archer, and Abbot Lawrence.*' 

Whig ratification 'meetings were held all over the Union and 
these meetings constituted the high water mark in the botmdless 
enthusiasm and idolatry of Henry Clay by the Whig party. 
These demonstrations were never excelled before in America, and 
in proportion to the population of the country at the time, have 
probably never been excelled since. 

The Tennessee Whigs held a great mass convention at Nash- 
ville, on August 21st, at which speakers of national reputation 
addressed the convention and those who were on the committee 
of arrangements made public that "they are authorized to say 
that there would be bread and meat and 'chicken fixins' in abtm- 
dance for strangers. Every Whig house in town will be open for 
their accommodation.*' 


The John Tyler National Convention was held in Baltimore 
on May 27, 1844, at Calvert Hall. The flag of the United States 
floated over the building and over the Speaker's chair, and in 
various parts of the hall were emblazoned mottoes — "Tyler and 
Texas," "Re- Annexation of Texas," "Postponement is Rejection." 
The delegates wore a gilt button with a single star, emblematic 
of the Lone Star State, and a ribbon badge with a likeness of 
President Tyler on it. 

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246 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

The Convention was called to order at eleven o'clock but 
proceedings were suspended until twelve, and, on motion, Mr. 
Shaler of New York was made temporary president and Mr. 
Baldwin of New York and Mr. Reynolds of Michigan temporary 

A committee on permanent organization was appointed and 
later made a report nominating Judge White of Connecticut for 
president, and nominees for vice president from a niunber of 
States were suggested, but none from Tennessee. Secretaries from 
various States were also named. Judge White, the president, 
addressed the convention in a short speech: 

"We are called upon, gentlemen, to discharge a duty of no 
ordinary magnitude. We have come together from every section 
of the country, deputed by our democratic fellow citizens, to 
act with reference to the nomination of a candidate for the presi- 
dency — and to cast our votes for an honest man; and that man, 
allow me to say, is JOHN TYLER, of Virginia. (Loud cheering.) 
The expectations and wishes of our constituents, the masses, 
have been expressed on this point, in a majmer not to be mis- 
understood. The man who has so nobly stood by the consti- 
tution of his country — who has saved the Democratic party — 
and raised it up from the prostrate condition in which it was 
left at the close of the campaign of 1840, is the only man whose 
name has been placed in our hands by the people. (Great ap- 

**I rejoice to find that I am siurounded by men who have 
long been identified with Jefifersonian democracy — ^men who have 
grown grey in that glorious cause. That the ptuest patriotism 
and love of country will be the guide of all our actions, I will 
not indulge a doubt. Let all we do be done with a single eye 
to the coimtry's glory. I will add, that I feel the utmost desire 
to discharge the duties of the post you have assigned me, in a 
manner which shall satisfy every member of this large and highly 
respectable assembly. 

"I cannot take the chair without assuming the responsibility 
of proposing three hearty cheers for Tyler and Texas.'* 

This was responded to with three hearty cheers. 
The Rev. Dr. Kreider offered a resolution in behalf of Presi- 
dent John Tyler, as follows: 

* 'Resolved, That we cheerfully respond to the proceeding of 
oiu" fellow citizens throughout the Union, as manifested in their 
niunenous State, county and district conventions, and primary 
assemblies, in which they have nominated John Tyler, of Vir- 
ginia, as the democratic candidate for the next presidency, and 
the members of this convention deem it due to that illustrious 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 247 

patriot to here proclaim him by acclamation as the candidate 
of the people for the chief magistracy in 1844, confident, not only 
that he will be triumphantly successful at the polls, but will 
achieve as great a victory in relation to the introduction of Texas, 
as he achieved when the country so enthusiastically sustained 
and applauded him for his eminently popular vetoes." 

After very active discussion this resolution was adopted by 

On motion of T. T. Cropper df Virginia, the president was 
authorized to appoint a committee to notify President Tyler of 
his nomination for re-election, and on this committee president 
White named T. T. Cropper of Virginia, T. M. Hope of Illinois, 
Amos Holahan of Pennsylvania, J. W. Crooks of Massachusetts, 
aud W. F. P. TofyloT of New York. 

The following resolution was adopted in reference to a nomi- 
nation for Vice-President: 

*' Resolved, That there be appointed by the President of this 
convention a national nominating committee of seven persons, 
whose duty it shall be to report a candidate for the vice-presidency 
through the public papers as soon as practicable." 

The President notified the convention that there would be a 
democratic Tyler mass meeting in the evening at the Western 
Hotel, comer of Howard and Saratoga Streets. 

The committee on notification in carrying out their duty, 
addressed a letter to Mr. Tyler: 

notification letter. 

''Baltimore, May 28, 1844. 
"Sir: The undersigned, a committee appointed for that pur- 
pose, have the honor of informing you that a Democratic con- 
vention, composed of delegates from the different States of the 
Union, have unanimously nominated you as a candidate for the 
next presidency. Actuated by a sincere desire to promote the 
great principles of democracy, and in conformity with the ex- 
press wishes of their constituents in all portions of our country, 
they cordially and confidently present your name as the people's 
candidate for the highest office within their gift. Thus acting 
in accordance with the will of the people, they feel that they have 
bestowed their confidence upon one who, throughout a long and 
eventful career, in the discharge of high public trusts, has ever 
been found true to their dearest rights and best interests. While 
they feel conscious that they have thus faithfully discharged the 
high trust reposed within them by their constituents, they hesi- 
tate not to express the conviction that the people will, by their 

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248 Andrbw Jackson and EAiaY Tbnnbssbb Historv 

united voices, sustain a candidate whose whole life has been de- 
voted to republican principles, and who, in the midst of most 
trying and eventful circumstances, has always shown that firmness 
which is ever fotmd in the honest man and true patriot. We have 
tried you long — ^we are yet willing to try you longer. Respectfully, 

THO. M. HOPE, 111., 
WM. F. P. TAYLOR, N. Y., 
"Hon. John Tyler, 
'Washington, D. C." 

Tyler's letter of acceptance. 

To this letter the President wrote a lengthy reply which, 
while it is ancient history to the American voters of to-day, gives 
a strong inside light into the reasons whiph brought about the 
split in the Democratic party, and the election of Hairison and 
Tyler in 1840. The letter was intended to be a thorough vindi- 
cation of Mr. Tyler's political course. ' 

"GENTLEMEN : Your letter of the 28th instant, announcing 
to me my nomination for the presidency for the next foiu- years 
from the 4th of March next, by a democratic convention held in 
Baltimore on the 27th of the present month, and delegated by 
no inconsiderable portions of the people in every State of the 
Union, demands my warmest aclmowledgments. I have not 
been an inattentive observer of the course of public opinion in 
my favor, as manifested in numerous primary assemblies, an- 
nounced by the proceedings and resolutions of large masses of 
the people in most of the States of the Union, and to which the 
delegates lately assembled in Baltimore have so promptly re- 
sponded, and I beg to assure you, gentlemen, that I am not de- 
ficient in due sensibility upon the occasion. 

* 'Since my accession to the presidency I have had to encounter 
trials of no ordinary character. A great experiment was, under 
Providence, committed to my hands. It was no other than a 
test as to the sufficiency of our constituents to meet the con- 
tingencies which for the first time had occurred in our history, 
of the death of the president, and the succession of a vice-presi- 
dent to the administration of public affairs. In entering upon 
the office, I had to decide the question whether I would surrender 
honor, judgment, conscience, and the right of an independent 
mind, into the hands of a party majority, in whose views and 
opinions, it became very soon obvious, I could not concur without 
such surrender; or whether I should brave all consequences in 
the vindication of the constitutional rights of the executive, and 
in the discharge of the most sacred obligations of duty to the 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnessbb History 249 

coimtry. By adopting the first course, I was perfectly aware 
that my presidential term would throughout be peaceable and 
tranquil, and that I should receive the zealous and ardent sup- 
port of a controlling and dominant party; by pursuing the latter, 
I should incur the most violent demmciations, the bitterest re- 
proaches, the most unrelenting persecutions, while I could look 
to no active support from any engaged in the administration of 
piblic affairs. The one party, lx)ld and triumphant from the 
recent exhibition of its strength in the election of 1840, was likely 
to brook no opposition to its will, no matter upon what reason 
sudi opposition might proceed; while the other, still smarting 
unc^ the signal defeat of its leaders, would not be well inclined 
to Icok favorably on one who had, in no small degree, been instru- 
ment in bringing about that defeat. In the meantime I should 
be let without the means of defence against false ascriptions of 
motiv; and base assaults upon my character, which would be 
reverberated throughout the Union by the affiliated presses; while 
I shotid find but a most circumscribed defence in the columns 
of a sii^le newspaper, and that, a^t the time, of a limited circu- 
lation. Under all these appalling circumstances, I had to make 
my elecion between peace, comfort and tranquility on the one 
side, ancthe stem and solemn obligations of duty on the other. 
The firstto be obtained by a sacrifice of opinions long cherished, 
a surrenor of the rights of conscience, an abandonment of the 
obligation arising from my oath of oflSce to support and uphold 
the consti^tion, the loss of my own self respect, the scorn of all 
honorable nd fair thinking men, the curses of the present day 
and the an^hemas of futurity — the last to be performed amid 
thunders of tmunciation and the bitterest outpourings of malice, 
in choosing Itween these alternatives, I did not hesitate a mo- 
ment. The cuntry is aware of what followed. Bills were sent 
up from congi^ for my approval, which I regarded as violations 
of the constittion. They were vetoed. I preferred denimci- 
ation to perjm, the anathemas of the moment to bearing in 
my bosom a Pitnethean vulture to tear and to devour me. I 
was immediately loudly and violently denoimced by the Whig 
press, manifestoi were htu-led at my head, articles of impeach- 
ment, showing ane the malice and weakness in which they 
originated, were oved against me in the house of representa- 
tives. Every hars appellation was employed in connection with 
my name, mobs asmbled at midnight at the doors of the presi- 
dential mansion, ai the light of burning eflSgies threw its glare 
along the streets osome of the cities. Such were the conse- 
quences which follow the vetoes. Under these circumstances, 
my reliance was pla*i upon the people. To them I looked for 
justification and supirt. Nor was it denied. The congressional 
elections which short afterwards followed, furnished that justifi- 
cation and gave prom* of that support. A large whig majority 
in the house of represtatives was swept out of existence, and a 

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250 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

still larger democratic majority was made to occupy its place. 
The political battle was fought on the issues which duty had 
compelled me to raise, and an opinion more decisive upon those 
issues had never taken place. Many of those who had voted 
for General Harrison and myself, whose political opinions were 
coincident with my own, united with the democratic party and 
assisted in achieving so great a revolution. 

**But, unhappily for me, the leaders of the Democratic part% 
through the public press, from motives altogether too obviois, 
deemed necessary withopt any cause whatever connected wih 
the public administration, to open their attacks upon me, did 
forming an alliance with the rabid whig press, leveled at me iie 
most vindictive assaults. These assaults have been continuei on 
the part of the high contracting parties from 1842 to the pr6ent 
time, with only momentary intermission. The generous and iigji- 
minded men who either defended me in public, or came t^ my 
aid in the administration, were treated by both parties ^th a 
proud and haughty disdain. If those friends had voted fo Gen- 
eral Harrison and myself in 1840, they were expelled frm the 
Whig party, if they had voted for Mr. Van Buren, the dors of 
Tammany Hall were shut against them. They sought tf place 
in the conventions of either party, and nothing was ujfmately 
left them but to band themselves together, to adopt t^ir own 
organization, and to make their appeal to the intelligei^ of the 
people. How that appeal was received is best answe^d by re- 
ferring to the numerous meetings of the people in th<r primary 
assemblies, in many instances embracing thousands, wO, waiting 
for no conventions, have nominated me to their fe>w citizens 
as their candidate for the presidency, and sent up ^ Baltimore 
for the purpose of comparison of views with persor from other 
sections delegates to a democratic convention, whos proceedings 
have ratified and confirmed the proceedings of thefconstituents. 

"I do not feel myself at liberty to decline ^ nomination 
tendered me under such circumstances. There ' iliuch in the 
present condition of the country which would ^id my doing 
so. My name has become inseparably connecte/with the great 
question of the annexation of Texas to the Uniori In originating 
and concluding that negotiation, I had anti^ated the most 
cordial co-operation of two gentlemen, both oyhom were most 
prominent in the public mind as candidates » the presidency. 
That co-operation would have been attended ^p the immediate 
withdrawal of my name from the questioni* the succession. 
In the consummation of that measure, the asF^tions of my am- 
bition would have been complete. I should /ve felt that, as an 
instrument of Providence, I would have b^ aided in accom- 
plishing for my country the greatest possible^od- The poor and 
contemptible desire to be in office for the mJ sake of office, how- 
ever, exalted, would have had no effect pon me. But such 
was not the case. Where I had reason^ expect support, I 

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Andkbw Jackson and Early Tennessbe Hisxory 251 

have met with stem, and for aught I know, unrelenting opposition. 
My motives have once more been msot violently assailed, and 
matters have proceeded to such an extremity, that the opinion of 
a learned juris of the State of New York has been obtained, and 
is now pubUshed to the world, that I have made myself the legiti- 
mate subject of impeachment for having negotiated the treaty of 
annexation, and sought to carry it out by measures which seemed 
to me to be imperatively called for by honor, by justice, and every 
consideration of pubUc duty. 

"I am therefore left no alternative. I shall shrink from no 
responsibility, shall seek to appease no spirit of discontent. If 
annexation is to be accompUshed it must, I am convinced, be 
done immediately. Texas is in no condition to delay. She will 
not stake her interests upon possible but remote contigencies. 
If the present treaty should be ratified, or any measure in any 
other form shall be presented which will result in success at the 
present session of congress, you will leave me at liberty, gentle- 
men, to pursue the course in regard to the nomination which you 
have communicated to me, that my sense of what is due to myself 
and the coimtry may seem to require. The question with me, 
is between Texas and the presidency. The latter, even if within 
my graiSp, would not, for a moment, be permitted to stand in 
the way of the first. But in the present posture of affairs, I 
can waive no responsibility. 

"You do me nothing but justice in ascribing to me a firm and 
unshaken purpose to uphold the political principles which were 
sanctioned by Jefferson, and consecrated by his immediate suc- 
cessors. I yield to no man in the sincerity of my devotion to 
them; and while I remain at the head of the government, it will 
be my continued effort to sustain and advance them. 

"Be pleased to accept assiuances of my high regard and 

"Washington, May 30, 1844." 


Among politicians and newspapers it has always been con- 
sidered a matter of great glory for one to be able to boast that 
he brought about a healing of the breaches in a disrupted political 
party. Conditions in the disrupted Democratic party of 1844 
made it possible for this glory to come to the Richmond Enquirer 
which, on August 20, 1844, addressed a very persuasive editorial 
to the John Tyler wing of the Democratic party. The letter 
was persusasive and strongly eulogistic, and indicates the intense 
desire upon tie part of the leaders of the Democrats that Tyler 
and his following should return to the Democratic fold and as- 
sist to elect James K. Polk president of the United States. The 

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252 Andrbw Jackson and EAiaY Tbnnessbb History 

vast importance of the subject enthused the Enquirer's editorial 
writer and his appeal proved irresistible to Tyler. This editorial 
was headed: 

"democratic union. 

*'Not long since we ventured to express our opinion about 
the general importance of a complete reunion of the repubUcan 
party. After acknowldging the .many and signal services which 
had been rendered by President Tyler to the democracy, we 
appealed to him and his friends to unite with the republican 
brethren, assiuing them that they would be received by the 
friends of Polk and Dallas 'with cordiality, confidence and joy.' 
With scarcely a dissenting voice, the democratic press of the 
Union has re-echoed these sentiments; and no one can now doubt 
that it is the ardent wish of the republican party, that Mr. Tyler 
and his friends should co-operate with us 'as brethren and as 
equals.' We have not time or space for many quotations; but 
we will refer to the views of two democratic journals, one in the 
north, the other in the south. The New York Democrat says: 
'Almost every democratic paper we open responds to our recom- 
mendation of union and harmony in the democratic ranks, 
oblivion to the past, energy and zeal to the future. Throw open 
the doors of Tammany Hall, broadly, for all the tried friends of 
John Tyler to enter, pass the word throughout the State and 
Union, that we are one and indivisible, that the old democracy 
is again united and powerful, and we shall thus sweep everything 
before it.' The Nashville Union, speaking no doubt the views 
of all our friends in Tennessee, quotes our article, and a most 
able editorial of the Boston Post endorses our statements and 
says in regard to both, 'We participate in their noble sentiments, 
we profess equal good fellowship with all who go for our common 
principles.' Our talented friend the 'Pennsylvanian' was pleased 
also to confirm the sentiments we expressed. Our humble views 
have also received the full approbation of a patriot statesman, 
than whom no one possesses more fully the affection and con- 
fidence of the whole democratic party. In a letter of the 26th 
July, he says, 'Mr. Tyler's withdrawal, at once, would unite 
all the democrats into one family, without distinction. This 
would render our victory easy and certain, by bringing Mr. 
Tyler's friends into the support of Polk and Dallas, received as 
brethren by them and their friends, all former differences for- 
gotten and all cordially united once more in sustaining the demo- 
cratic candidates. I had such confidence in Mr. Tyler's good 
sense and patriotism, that I was sure he would withdraw in due 
time, as I believe him to be a good democrat.' (It is unneces- 
sary for us to specify the man of iron nerve, whose pen indited 
these sentences?) We appeal to the patriotism of John Tyler, 
and we invoke him, in the name of the democracy of the Union, 
to place his third and final veto upon the Bank of the United 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 253 

States, by uniting with us his old republican States rights anti- 
Bank friends, and thereby insuring the defeat of the dictator 
who would re-establish this corrupt and desperate corporation 
upon the fragments of the constitution and the ruins of American 
liberty! It was James K. Polk who declared upon the floor of 
congress, *The qestion is whether we shall have a republic without 
a bank, or a bank without a republic* Noble and glorious sen- 
timent f as brief and beautiful, as true and eloquent, and pre- 
senting in bold relief, the dreadful consequences from which we 
were saved by the moral firmness and patriotic vetoes of John 
Tyler. And now in the madness of disappointed ambition, the 
dictator would tiunble upon the fundamental law, and strike from 
its provisions the great conservative veto of the constitution. 
Here, also, president Tyler and Mr. Polk concur in opinion. Col. 
Polk, also, is the bold and manly advocate of the immediate re- 
annexation of Texas; whilst Mr. Clay opposes the acquisition of 
Texas, as dangerous, inexpedient and imwise. This acquisition 
we regard as of the highest importance to the whole country; 
and so does President Tyler; and, standing as his name ever must, 
pre-eminently, in glorious identity with this great measure, his 
most bitter foe could scarcely expect him to do otherwise than 
oppose the election of a man who stands in conflifct with hi^ own 
patriotic views, as regards this great American question. Finally, 
Mr. Polk (as well as President Tyler) is devoted to the rights 
and imion of the States; whilst the violent and proscriptive coiu-se, 
the dictatorial and despotic temper of Mr. Clay, connected 
with his consolidating doctrines and ultra measures, might en- 
danger that blessed Union, which is the pride and hope of every 
true American. The appeal, then, which we make, is to the pa- 
triotism of John Tyler. The motives which we present are public 
motives, piu-e, elevated and disinterested. We ask him to come 
to the rescue of the constitution and of his own great measures 
and principles. Come and save us from the dominion of a despot 
Bank; save to us the veto itself, that great conservative safe- 
guard of the constitution; save to us Texas from the grasp of 
England, into whose hands she will be certainly thrown by the 
election of Henry Clay; come, at the head of yoiu* gallant and 
devoted friends, and render oiu* common victory and triumph 
certain and complete; come, and the grateful and united voice 
of more than a million of freemen, rescued by your vetoes from 
the domination of a monarch Bank, will proclaim your welcome, 
welcome, thrice welcome into the ranksof our republican brethren." 

Tyler's reply. 

President Tyler answered the Enquirer in a lengthy communi- 
cation setting out reasons in vindication of his political course 
before, and also in withdrawing from the race for the presidency 
at that time. 

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254 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"to my friends throughtout the union. 

**The reasons which influenced me in accepting the nomina- 
tion for the presidency, made by a convention of my friends in 
May last, at Baltimore, have lost much of their original force. 
I had been not only most violently assailed by the ultraists of 
both parties, but had been threatened with impeachment for 
having negotiated a treaty proposing the annexation of Texas 
in the Union, as a portion of its territory, and for having adopted 
precautionary measiu-es clearly falling within the range of execu- 
tive discretion, to ward oflf any blow which might have been 
seriously aimed at the peace and ^fety of the coimtry in the 
event of the ratification of the treaty by the senate. The opinion 
of a person, once ranked amongst the distinguished jiuists of 
the country, found its way into the newspapers, apparently as 
the precursor of such proceeding. 

'*A report had also been made at a previous session of congress 
by a committee of the house of representatives, which proceeded 
from the man who filled no limited space in the eye of the world, 
in which, because of the exercise of the veto power in arrest of 
the unconstitutional and pernicious measures of a United States 
Bank, and a donation to the States of so much of the revenue 
as was derived from the public lands, at a moment of great em- 
barrassment to the treasmy, and when loans were necessary 
to sustain the government, I was charged with the commission 
of grave offences in the above particulars, and with deserving all 
the pains and disgrace flowing from the high power of impeach- 
ment, a measiu-e, as it was intimated, only not resorted to by the 
house because of a doubt entertained whether the proceeding 
would be sustained by public sentiment. I had, it is true, pro- 
tested against that report as originating in wrong, and dictated 
by party rancor and malevolence; but my protest was refused a 
place on the Journal of the house, and thus in futiu-e times my 
name might have been tarnished by the fact of a solemn declara- 
tion implicating my character, remaining imcontradicted and 
imreversed on the public Journals. 

"The party majority which had sanctioned a proceeding so 
unjust, had, it is true, been swept out of existence by the elections 
which shortly afterwards followed; but, at the time of my accept- 
ance of the nomination, although a large and overwhelming 
majority of the opposite party had been brought into power by 
the people, as if for the express purpose of sustaining me in what 
I had done, yet, that very party had made no public movement 
indicative of a friendly feeling, and a portion of its members, 
who seemed to control the rest, exhibited the bitterest hostility, 
and the most unrelenting spirit of opposition. Under these 
circumstances, there was but one course left to me consistent with 
honor, which was to maintain my position unmoved by threats, 
and unintimidated by denunciations. Those of my coimtrymen 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 255 

who had come to my support, had done so in a self-sacrificing 
spirit, without the indulgence of any other expectation than that 
my character should be vindicated, and that the policy of my 
administration should be sustained; and I felt that it would better 
become me to abide the most signal defeat than to incur the 
disgrace of depreciating the action of a party, the chief object of 
whose leaders seemed to be to fasten upon me disgrace.' I had 
also an indistinct hope that the great question of the annexation 
of Texas might, in sbme degree, be controlled by the position 
I occupied. 

"These motives induced my acceptance of the nomination 
made by my friends. Before the close of the session of congress, 
however, developments were so clearly and distinctly made as to 
the threatened impeachment, that no trace of such a measiu'e 
was left. Mr. J. Q. Adams* report, implicating my motives and 
conduct in my vetoes of the bank and other bills, was deprived 
of all its force and fugitive effect by a report made by a com- 
mittee, of which Mr. Ellis, of New York, was chairman, accom- 
panied by resolutions, which passed the house of representatives 
some few days before the close of the session by a large and com- 
manding majority, not only rescuing my motives from all imputa- 
tion, but justifjdng and upholding my policy. The voice of the 
people in the elections of 1842 was thus directly responded to by 
that of their representatives, and but little remained for me per- 
sonally, either to expect or desire. 

**Since the adjournment of congress, the language of many 
of the leading presses of the country, and resolutions adopted by 
laree assemblages of the people in their primary meetings, have 
still further endorsed the proceedings of the house in approbation 
of the acts of the administration. I could not, however, look 
exclusively to my own wishes, which would have lead me immed- 
iately to retire from a contest which seemed no longer to be 
possessed of an object worthy of much further attention. But 
I was not at liberty to do so without first consulting with such 
of my most prominent and steadfast friends as I could readily 
confer with; men who had shared with me in much of the abuse 
which I had encountered, and would partially have participated 
in all the obloquy if any, which might, in the futiu-e, attach to me. 
So far as I have been able to consult them, they have yielded 
their assent to the coiu-se which my own judgment suggests as 
proper, and I now announce to them and the country, my with- 
drawal from the presidential canvass. 

"I cannot omit to accompany this public annunciation with a 
few remarks, addressed to the republican portion of what was 
called the whig party of 1840. I make no appeal to that other 
portion, which was formerly known during the early period of our 
political history, as federalists, at a later day as national republi- 
cans, and now pass under the general appellation of whigs. Such 
an appeal would be wholly out of place, since their political prin- 

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256 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

ciples are entirely at war with those I have advocated through life. 
I mean no imputation on their motives or their patriotism. I 
doubt not that the old federal party, in the lead of which stood 
the elder Adams, were as deeply and sincerely convinced of the 
necessity of the Alien and Sedition laws, as the present is of that 
of a bank of the United States, with other measures equally 
latitudinous, along with the abolition of the veto power, whereby 
to convert the government into a mere majority machine, to 
make it the government of a single nation, instead of what it is, 
a political compact between free, sovereign and independent 
States, by which so much power, and no more, has been granted 
to a common agent of all the States, as they esteemed to be neces- 
sary for the promotion of their mutual happiness. No; to them 
I have nothing to say. If I have received their support at any 
time, it has been, not from attachment to me or my politicsJ 
principles, but from some supposed influence which I might bring 
to bear, as a secondary agent, in advancing their purpose. 

**A11 the obligations which I have received for such reasons, 
have been more than counterbalanced by the untiring opposition 
which I have encountered at their hands since I attained my 
present station, and the constant and unmitigated abuse which 
their leaders have poured out in a torrent upon my head; designed 
as I verily believe, in the first instance, to drive me from the gov- 
ernment; and in the last to overwhelm me with obloquy and 
reproach. But I have a right to address myself to those who, 
like myself, co-operated witii them in the contest of 1840, who 
were, and always had been the advocates of the principles of the 
old republican party, whose strenuous efforts have always been 
directed to preserving the compact of Union unbroken and invio- 
late, who have sustained at all times the principles of the repub- 
lican party of 1798-9, who have participated from time to time, 
in all republican triumphs, whose fathers were victorious over the 
elder Adams in the election of Mr. Jefferson, as they themselves 
were over the younger in the election of Gen. Jackson. 

**To this portion of the whig party of 1840, I feel tiiat I have 
a full right to address myself; and I now seriously put it to them 
to say, whether any expectation of good to the country which 
they had formed in the election of Gen. Harrison and myself to 
the presidency and vice presidency, has been disappointed ? Many 
of us had been thrown into opposition to Gen. Jackson dtuing 
his last term, having voted for him upon his first and second 
election, because of certain doctrines put forth in his proclamation, 
and because of certain measiu"es which followed that celebrated 
state paper. Our opposition proceeded from no spirit of faction, 
but from what we esteemed to be a sacred regard to the high 
and essential principles of the republican party, and regarding 
his successor as in a great degree identified with what we esteemed 
as errors in Gen. Jackson's administration, our opposition was 
continued to him. The state and condition of the country, also, 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessbb History 257 

seamed to require change in the general administration. Have 
y )u been disappointed in the reform which you promised your- 
selves by going into the contest ? You demanded a rigid economy 
to be observed in the public expenditiu'es. Have you in this 
been disappointed? You require accountabiUty on the part of 
all public agents. Has it not been fulfilled? Let the fact that 
a defaulter has become almost unknown for the last three years 
answer the question. 

**You ask that a coiu'se of policy should be adopted ^hich 
should purify and reform the currency. Was the ciurency of the 
country ever in a better condition? Let the rate of exchanges 
between all parts of the country answer the inquiry. Has the 
day ever been, when the currency was sounder or the rates of 
exchange lower? You sought once more to put the mechanical 
arts in active operation, and to relieve commerce from the bHght 
which had fallen upon it. The first has revived, and the last has 
imfurled its sails, which now whiten almost every sea. The 
paralysis which had fallen on public credit, to an extent so great 
that the poor sum of $5,000,000 of government stock was offered 
to Eiu-opean and American capitaHsts without our being able to 
find for it a purchaser, has passed away, and a well supplied 
exchequer gives evidence not only of the expansion of trade, but 
of the stable basis on which rests the public credit. 

"The very stock for which no bidders could at one time be 
fotmd, now readily commands in the market an advance of fifteen 
or twenty dollars in the hundred. In the meantime I submit 
to you to say whether the principles of the republican party have 
not been closely observed in all that has been done. Did those 
principles require that we should recommence a new cycle of 
twenty years, the predecessor of which a Bank of the United 
States had fulfilled in 1836? Beginning by increasing the de- 
rangements of business for years, attended in its mid-career 
with comparative prosperity, then resorting to efforts by all its 
large means to force a recharter, and ending its existence amid 
the curses and denimciations of the many it had ruined. Most 
of you had, like myself, through all time, pronounced the bank to 
be unconstitutional. 

"Had your opinions on this subject undergone a change in 1840 
and did you contemplate that Gen. Harrison and myself, who dur- 
ing the whole contest avowed our opinions to be unchanged in 
that respect, in numerous addresses to the public, would be deserv- 
ing of denunciation if either of us should refuse to perjiu"e our- 
selves by sanctioning a bank charter, which, beUeving it to be 
unconstitutional, our solemn oath of office required us to vote 
against or veto? Tell me, moreover brother republicans of 1840, 
had you then brought yourselves to the conclusion that, even 
admitting a possible abuse of the veto power, it was proper to 
erase from the constitution that great barrier and check to un- 
constitutional and highly inexpedient legislation, thereby making 

17-To!. 2 

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258 Andmw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

the will of congress supreme and installing the majority of that 
body in the full possession of all the powers of government? Or 
did you, or do you now, still cling to the opinion in which the 
qualified veto originated, that a government without check and 
balances is the worst form of oligarchy, and that too many giliards, 
in order to secure public liberty, cannot be thrown over its dif- 
ferent departments? 

*'If, indeed, you are advocates of a change so vital as that 
proposed, then may not only the Garrisons and Tappans of our 
country rejoice, but a shout should ascend from the abolition 
convention *of the whole world,* at the fact that our federal 
system had given away before the power of a consolidated govern- 
ment, whose will, uttered forth by sectional majorities, was 
absolute, admitting of no check or resistance from any quarter 
whatever. If, indeed these be your opinions, then have I most 
grievously disappointed the hopes in which you indulged in con- 
nection with my election and my administration. I must, never- 
theless, most solemnly aver that had I been aware that such 
would have been expected and required of me, if I could have 
believed that you, whose candidate I was peculiarly considered, 
and to conciliate whom I was nominated for the vice presidency, 
would have required of me in the contingency, which unhappily 
occurred, that I should commence my admmiistration with an 
act of perjury, and sanctioned measures abhorrent to every prin- 
ciple of my past life and at war with the prosperity of the country 
and the continuance of liberty, I would not have suffered my 
name, humble as it was, to have been breathed in the canvass. 
No, I claim the proud privilege of an American citizen to think 
for myself on all subjects, and to act in piu'suance of my own 
convictions, and it would require a total change of my nature in 
order to convert me into a mere instrument of party, or of party 

*'I would appeal not only to yoifrself but to all my country- 
men to say whether, in the matters appertaining to our forei^ 
affairs, they anticipated more success in the adjustment of dif- 
ficulties and in the formation of highly important treaties than 
it has been my province to cause to be negotiated. Longstanding 
difficulties have been adjusted, difficulties which threatened most 
seriously the peace of the country. Nor has any opportunity 
been lost for enlarging the commerce of the coimtry, and giving 
new markets to our agricultural and manufactured products. 
If the country has not reaped full fruition of benefit from all the 
treaties thus negotiated, it surely has not been the fault of the 
administration. The loss of two of those treaties through the 
action of the senate, cannot but be deplored by me as great public 
calamities. By the treaty with the German states we had opened 
the way to a more extended commerce with 27,000,000 of people, 
in our cotton, tobacco, rice, and lard, at duties on tobacco, rice 
and lard greatly reduced, and with a stipulation for the free 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 259 

admission of cotton; while we had agreed to receive at somewhat 
reduced duties articles from those states which entered into the 
most limited competition, if at all, with a few similar articles of 
American product. | 

**The treaty was particularly interesting from^the fact that, 
for the first time, after repeated struggles on the part of my 
predecessors to accomplish a reduction of duty on tobacco, the 
government had succeeded in doing so. It was negotiated under 
resolutions originating with the tobacco States, and with the pre- 
sumed sanction of congress, who had raised, as it is believed, 
the mission of Vienna from a second to a first rate mission, with 
direct reference to the tobacco interest, and had also appropriated 
a sum of money some years ago, to enable the executive to employ 
an agent in Germany to acquire information as to the tobacco 
trade; the services of which agent had only ceased a short time 
prior to the negotiation of the treaty. My hope still, however, 
is that the benefit of the treaty, and the treaty istelf , may not 
be lost to the country. I think it proper to add, that there was 
no design to deprive the house of representatives of any rightful 
and constitutional action over the subject which it might properly 
exercise. It was, on the contrary, my intention to have submitted 
the treaty, and all the papers calculated to elucidate it, to the 
house of representatives, if it had been ratified by the senate, for 
such action as they might have deemed it proper to adopt, a 
course pursued in all cases in which the action of the house is 
required to vote supplies of money, or fulfill any other object 
falling within the scope of their power. 

"In negotiating the treaty for the annexation of Texas, which 
was rejected by tiie senate, motives have been ascribed to the 
administration which had no place in its mind or heart. One 
gentleman occupying a prominent place in the democratic party, 
whether for good or evil it does not become me to say, has assigned 
in an address, recently delivered in Missouri, two prominent 
motives for its negotiation: 1st, personal ambition, and 2dly, 
a purpose to dissolve the Union. Mr. Clay, also, in a recent 
letter, written to the editor of a newspaper in Alabama, has 
called it infamous, and ascribed to it, in its origin, sinister objects. 
I repel both their assaults upon the treaty and its negotiators. 
What object of mere personal ambition in any way connected 
with oflSce could have influenced the administration in negotiating 
the treaty? The public archives furnished the strongest reasons 
to believe that the treaty would have met the unqualified approval 
of both Mr. Clay and Mr. Van Buren. While the one was secre- 
tary of state to Mr. Adams, and the other to General Jackson, 
eadi in his tiu-n attempted to obtain the annexation of Texas. 
Mr. Clay's negotiations were carried on with Mexico in the third 
year of her revolutionary struggle, while Spain regarded her as 
a revolted province, and her armies were in possession of many 
of the strongholds of the country. What reason, then, could I 

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260 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

have had for supposing for an instant that a treaty with Texas, 
after eight years of actual independence, with no Mexican soldier 
within her territory, and subject only to occasional border inter- 
ruptions, could or would have met with^ opposition from him or 
his friends? and meeting with no such opposition on the part 
either of Mr. Van Biu'en or Mr. Clay, and their friends, it would 
puzzle a sounder casuist than I profess to be, to conceive in what 
possible way it could have interrupted the relations of those two 
gentlemen who stood at the moment at the head of their respective 
parties, and were looked upon by all as competitors for the presi- 
dency. It is well known that, when the negotiation for the acquisi- 
tion of Texas was commenced, and up to the period succeeding 
the signing of the treaty, it was my confident conviction, expressed 
to many, that it would, from the circumstances I have stated, 
received the support both of Mr. Clay and Mr. Van Biu-en, so 
that neither would be affected by its negotiation. 

"If it had been charged that the administration was prompted 
by the ambition of securing the greatest boon to the coimtry, 
and the whole country, in the acquisition of a territory so im- 
portant in itself and so inseparably connected with the interests 
of every State in the Union, and every interest of the Union, I 
would have plead guilty, without a moment of hesitation. I con- 
fess I felt ambitious to add another bright star to the American 
constellation. It would have been a source of pride to me, if 
that meastu-e had been carried, to have witnessed from the re- 
'tirement that awaits me, the unusual expansion of oiu* coastwise 
and foreign trade, and the increased prosperity of oiu- agriculture 
and manufactures, through the rapid growth of Texas, which 
would have followed the ratification of the treaty. Yes, I freely 
confess that this would have furnished me an unfailing source 
of gratification to the end of my life. I should have seen also 
the union of the States becoming stronger and stronger through 
their reciprocal affection, local jealousies suppressed, and fanatical 
schemes and schemers alike prostrate. I should have witnessed 
the blessed results of our federative system as it embraced the 
finest country in the world, and brought under its influence a 
people devoted like ourselves to the maintenance and preserva- 
tion of free government. 

"This was the kind of ambition which prompted the negotia- 
tion of the treaty. Its ratification was the sole honor which I 
coveted, and that I now desire. What sinister motives could have 
originated the negotiation at this time, that did not exist in 
1827 ? What was there now to have rendered a treaty infamous 
which did not exist then ? If it be said we had a treaty of limits 
with Mexico, I ask if, in 1827, we had not also a treaty of limits 
with Spain? We had recognized the independence of Mexico, 
and, therefore, virtually claimed that we had a perfect right to 
treat with her for the annexation of Texas, and in fact, if we had 
so pleased, for Mexico entire. Eight years ago we recognized 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 261 

Texas as independent, and surely our right to negotiate with her 
implied no worse faith than in 1 827 to negotiate with Mexico for her. 

"The idea that because of the existence of a treaty of limits 
with any nation, we must forever thereafter deny to all parts of 
the territory of such nation the right of revolution or change, 
can only excite, with an American citizen, a smile. Was it 
deemed necessary, in 1827, to consult the States, to consult the 
senate, or to consult the house of representatives, or the people ? 
Was it CO sidered necessary to obtain the assent of every State 
as would seem now to be proposed, before forming a treaty of 
annexation? If the assent of every State is necessary then may 
we bid adieu to the prospect of annexation now or hereafter. 
The constitution devolves the treaty-making power on two- 
thirds of the States, through their senators, and it is altogether 
a new doctrine that a treaty should not be negotiated without 
the assent of all. 

''Danger to the Union through the exercise of the power of a 
constitutional majority in the making of a treaty, is a doctrine 
for the first time advanced, and having no foundation in point 
of fact. I regard the preservation of the Union as the first great 
American interest. I equally disapprove of all threats of its 
dissolution, whether they proceed from the north or the south. 
The glory of my country, its safety and its prosperity alike de- 
pend on Union, and he who would contemplate its destruction 
even for a moment, and form plans to accomplish it, deserves 
the deepest anathemas of the human race. 

"I beUeved, and still believe, that the annexation of Texas 
would add to its strength, and serve to perpetuate it for ages 
yet to come; and my best efforts while I remain in oflBce, will 
be directed to seciu-ing its acquisition, either now or at a future 
day. Whether any efforts will avail to secure this object since 
the rejection of the treaty, remains still to be seen. I abandon 
all hope upon the subject if it shall be esteemed necessary to 
obtain for it the approval of every State. The case rarely oc- 
curs that any treaty receives the unanimous approval of the senate. 

"I have been called upon, in justice to myself, to make these 
remarks in withdrawing from the position in which my friends 
had placed me. I might present other inquiries growing out of 
the coiu-se of the administration, both in regard to our domestic 
and foreign relations, as to which principles have been maintained, 
which may arrest the attention of future and even remote Ad- 
ministrations, but let what I have said suffice. All that I ask 
of my countrymen is a candid review of my acts, and an impartial 
comparison of the condition of the country now with what it was 
three years ago. I appeal from the vituperation of the present 
day to the pen of impartial history, in the full confidence that 
neither my motives nor my acts will bear the interpretation which 
has, for sinister prurposes, been placed upon them. 

"Washington, Aug. 20th, 1844." "John Tyler. 

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262 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 


James Knox Polk — ^What is a Great Man — ^Polk's 
Diary — ^Return to Nashville — ^Death. 

In 1901 The Chiicago Historical Society bought from the family 
of James K. Polk his diary, and a lot of letters and miscellaneous 
papers which had been preserved by the president. The diary 
covers the period from August 26, 1845, to June 2, 1849, and 
is in the president's handwriting, and made up of 25 volumes of 
the same size, each containing from 100 to 250 pages except the 
last, which was not completed. In 1910 the society published 
for its own uses 500 copies of the diary in 4 volumes, averaging 
450 closely printed pages each, and no further edition has ap- 
peared; so that knowledge of the existence of the diary, to say 
nothing of its contents, is known to comparatively few of the 
American people. The Chicago Historical Society is entitled 
to the gratitude of every student of history for putting in print a 
work that sheds so much light upon President James K. Polk 
himself, as well as upon his administration — one which was con- 
fronted with and successfully solved some of the gravest problems 
in the annals of the country. 

President Polk stated in the diary entry for August 26, 1846, 
his reasons for keeping a diary, and these reasons we must accept 
at face value as far as they are stated. But the impression grows 
that there were other reasons. One is impressed that Polk wrote 
the diary for posterity, and that he frankly tells in it the exact 
truth as he saw it. It may be he wrote with prejudice here and 
there, and he has been charged with harboring prejudice? in his 
career, but there is no evidence in the diary that he set down a 
single word intentionally false or colored or prejudiced. 

On the contrary the reader is impressed that the man who 
wrote the diary was a strong, alert, courageous, aggressive, out- 
spokten and masterful character, tenacious of purpose, consistent 
in conduct and a leader who always fearlessly and successfully 
led, and, above everything else, a man who was perfectly sincere. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbsseb History 263 

There is no semblance of posing an)rwhere in the foiu* volumes. 
We seem to look into the very heart of James K. Polk. He 
speaks right out, and is never afraid to speak. He tells how he 
acted and was never afraid to act. 

The publication of the diary will enhance Polk's standing 
even with those writers who deny his right to be classed as a great- 
man, and a perusal of it drew these expressions from James 

"It must be a siuprise to most of our fellow-countr)anen to 
learn that another President beside John Qiiihcy Adams kept an 
extensive journal while in oflSce; and especially ;that an Executive 
so absorbed in difficult details as Mr. I%lk should have found 
time to record his impressions from day to day at such great 
length, and with so obvious a determination to be exact and com- 
prdiensive. Such an enterprise steadily pursued, and with no 
full opportunity to change or suppress what at the time was 
written, reveals not only facts essential to a correct understanding 
of public actions, but, more unconsciously, the mental cast and 
political bias of the writer. Like his more erudite predecessor, 
John Quincy Adams, Polk cherished — and probably with greater 
zeal — ^the purpose of vindicating some day his secret political 
motives and his public relations with other men; but his prema- 
ture death, very soon after his four years* term had expired, left 
the Diary imrevised as its own expositor, an inner fotmtain of 
information unadorned. No two Presidents could have been 
more at the antipodes than were Polk and John Quincy Adams 
in political affiliations and designs. Yet each, after his peculiar 
fashion, was honest, inflexible in purpose, and piu^uant of the 
coimtry*s good; and both have revealed views singularly alike — 
the one as a scholar, the other as a sage and sensible observer — 
of the selfish, ignoble, and antagonistic influences which surge 
about the citidel of national patronage, and beset each supreme 
occupant of the White House." 

** Whatever may be thought of Mr. Polk*s official course in 
despoiling Mexico for the aggrandizement of his own country, 
one cannot read this Diary carefully without an increased respect 
for his simple and stiu-dy traits of character, his inflexible honesty 
in financial concerns, and the partinacious zeal and strong sa- 
gacity which characterized his whole presidential career. Making 
all due allowance for any personal selfishness which might color 
his narrative, we now perceive clearly that he was the framer of 
that public poUcy which he carried into so successful execution, 
and that instead of being led (as .many might have imagined) 
by the more famous statesmen of his administration and party 
who siUTOimded him, he in reality led and shaped his own execu- 
tive coiu-se; disclosing in advance to his familiar Cabinet such 
part as he thought best to make known, while concealing the 

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264 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

rest. Both Bancroft and Buchanan, of his oflficial advisers, have 
left on record since his death, incidental tributes to his greatness 
as an administrator and unifier of executive action; both ad- 
mitting in effect his superior force of will and comprehension 
of the best practical methods for attaining his far-reaching ends." 

The world has always held that there were great men, but it 
would seem that no two agree upon what constitutes one. 
We agree on the fact of his existence, but we utterly fail on a 
definition of him; and before any inteUigent discussion can be had 
as to Polk's rightful place in history, it will be instructive for us 
to examine the definitions of greatness and great men, given by 
men whose opinion the world is accustomed to consider with 
respect; and if we find that these definitions differ in detail, to 
ascertain, if we can, if there is any general principle or sentiment 
or quality upon which a majority agree; but a definition we must 

When the first edition of this work was issued, a distinguished 
American lawyer wrote to the author this: 


**I do not agree with you that Polk was one of the great 
presidents. History has never given him that position and I do 
not believe it ever will. If a man does not so impress himself 
upon his country and time as to make the world think that 
he is great, it is very rare no matter what his merits may be if he 
can be rehabilitated, unless it is a man who has led an obscure 
life, and some great thing in connection with his life has been 
subsequently discovered which wa^ not known to the general 

**Of course the public knew all of the public acts of Mr. Polk 
upon which greatness could be founded. 

"While the above is my opinion, I am also of the opinion that 
full justice has not been done Mr. Polk, and that a well-written 
life of him would be well worth while. However, to gain the 
attention of the public and carry conviction, it would have to be 
not an eulogy but a critical historical review which would appeal 
to judgment and not to sentiment. 

"The trouble with most of our Southern histories is that they 
are written to establish a theory and not to evolve one." 

This constitutes our first definition of a great man, one who 
has impressed his contemporaries that he is great. 

In searching for other definitions we look to opinions of both 
ancient and modern times and in both America and foreign 
countries : 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 265 

Bismarck: "A really great man is known by three signs — 
generosity in the design, himianity in the execution, moderation 
in success." 

Channing: *'The greatest man is he who chooses the right 
with invincible resolution; who resists the sorest temptations 
from within and without; who bears the heaviest biu-dens cheer- 
fully; who is calmest in storms, and most fearless imder menace 
and frowns; and whose reliance on truth, on virtue, and on God, 
is most unfaltering." 

Brougham: **The true test of a great man — that, at least, 
which must secure his place among the highest ordfer of great 
men — ^is, his having been in advance of his age." 

Addison: **A contemplation of God's works, a generous 
concern for the good of mankind, and the unfeigned exercise of 
hxmiility — ^these only, denominate men great and glorious." 

Budier: * 'Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right 
using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves 
only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. 
He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by 
the attraction of his own." 

Br)rant: * 'Difficulty is a nurse of greatness — ^a harsh nurse, 
who rocks her foster children roughly, but rocks them into strength 
and atheletic proportions. The mind, grappling with great aim 
and wrestling with mighty impediments, grows by a certain 
necessity to the stature of greatness." 

J. M. Hoppin: **A nation's greatness resides not in her ma- 
terial resources . " 

Charles Reade: "Not a day passes over the earth but men 
and women of no note do great deeds, speak great words, and suffer 
noble sorrows. Of these obsciu-e heroes, philosophers, and mar- 
tyrs the greater part will never be known till that hour when 
many that were great shall be small, and the smdl great." 

Phillips Brooks : **No man has come to true greatness who has 
not felt in some degree that his life belongs to his race, and that 
what God gives him he gives him for mankind." 

William Jones: *'If I am asked who is the greatest man, 
I answer the best; and if I am required to say who is the best, 
I reply he that has deserved most of his fellow-creatiu-es." 

Carlyle: "Great men are the commissioned guides of man- 
kind, who rule their fellows because they are wiser." 

Johnson: * 'Nothing can be truly great which is not right." 

Seneca: *'A great, a good, and a right mind is a kind of divin- 
ity lodged in flesh, and may be the blessing of a slave as well as 
of a prince; it came from heaven, and to heaven it must return; 
and it is a kind of heavenly felicity, which a pure and virtuous 
mind enjoys, in some degree, even upon earth." 

Colton: **In life we shall find many men that are great, and 
some men that are good, but very few men that are both great 
and good." 

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266 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Colton: "Subtract from the great man all that he owes to 
opportmiity, all that he owes to chance, and all that he has gained 
by the wisdom of his friends and the folly of his enemies, and the 
giant will often be seen to be a pigmy." 

Rochefoucauld: "However brilliant an action may be, it 
ought not to pass for great when it is not the result of a great 

M. Henry: "Nothing can make a man truly great but being 
truly good) and partaking of God's holiness." 

Demosthenes: "Everything great is not always good, but all 
good things are great." 

Sidney Smith: "There is but one method, and that is hard 
labor; and a man who will not pay that price for greatness had 
better at once dedicate himself to the pursuit of the fox, or to 
talk of bullocks, and glory in the goad." 

Seneca: "He who is great when he falls is great in his pros- 
tration, and is no more an .object of contempt than when men 
tread on the ruins of sacred buildings, which men of piety venerate 
no less than if they stood." 

Rochefoucauld: "Great souls are not those which have less 
passion and more virtue than common souls, but only those which 
have greater desi^s." 

Ifland: "He is great who can do what he wishes; he is wise 
who wishes to do what he can." 

Daniel Webster: "A solemn and religious regard to spiritual 
and eternal things is an indespensible element of all true greatness." 

Bishop Hall: "He is great enough that is his own master." 

S^ieca: "Great is he who enjoys his earthenware as if it 
were plate, and not less great is the man to whom all his plate 
is no more than earthenware." 

Shakespeare: "Some are bom great; some achieve greatness; 
and some have greatness thrust upon them." 

Washington: "It is to be lamented that great characters 
are seldom without a blot." 

Goethe: "TTie world cannot do without great men, but great 
men are very troublesome to the world." 

Shakespeare: "He is not great, who is not greatly good." 

Mulock: "The man who does his work, any work, conscien- 
tiously, must always be in one sense a great man." 

Carlyle: "Great men are the modellers, patterns, and in a 
wide sense creators, of whatsoever the general mass of men con- 
trived to do and attain." 

PhilUps Brooks: "Greatness may be present in lives whose 
range is very small." 

John Milton: "He alone is worthy of the appellation who 
either does great things, or teaches how they may be done, or 
describes them with a suitable majesty when they have been done; 
but those only are great things which tend to render life more 
happy, which increase the innocent enjoyments and comforts 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 267 

of existence, or which pave the way to a state of future bliss more 

permanent and more pure." 

Chapman: "They're only truly great who are truly good." 
Ben Franklin: ''There was never yet a truly great man 

that was not at the same time truly virtuous." 


"Unbounded courage and compassion join'd, 
Tempering each other in the victor's mind, 
Alternately proclaim him good and great, 
And make the hero and the man complete." 

Matthew Arnold: "Greatness is a spiritual condition worthy 
to excite love, interest, and admiration; and the outward proof 
of possessing greatness is, that we excite love, interest, and 

Emerson: "Great men are they who see that spiritual is 
stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world." 

Emerson: "He is great who is what he is from Nature, and 
who never reminds us of others." 


"The heights by great men reached and kept 

Were not attained by sudden flight. 
But they, while their companions slept, 

Were toiling upward in the night." 

Ruskin: "No great intellectual thing was ever done by great 
effort; a great thing can only be done by a great man, and he does 
it without effort." 

Carlyle: "Great souls are always loyally submissive, reverent 
to what is over them; only small, mean souls are otherwise." 

The great variety of opinion, the ever varying differences, the 
irreconcilable conflicts and inaccuracy of thought and language, 
are all plainly and painfully shown here. Some of these definitions 
critically analyzed become preposterous, and from them we are 
led irresistably to the conclusion that there is no ascertained or 
ascertainable standard of greatness or great men; that the word 
great has no clearly defined meaning; that human judgment fails 
helplessly to fix a standard for human actions and achievements; 
that opinion of the same people may vary from one period to 
another in reference to the same subject matter; and that people 
of different coimtries may and do estimate actions, motives, 
books, leadership, art, invention and every other human activity 
far apart. 

Lacking a standard or a definition then, the advocates who 
daim that Polk was a great man have as firm groimd to stand 

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268 Andrbw Jackson and EarItY Tennessee History 

on as those who dispute this claim. In the last analysis it is all 
in the point of view, a matter of personal opinion. 

In the first place Polk was probably the greatest administrator 
that ever filled the presidency. In no other administration, 
certainly in none to a greater degree, did the president with the 
most careful deliberation and set purpose lay out a definite 
program of what he would attempt to accomplish, — a program 
great and comprehensive enough to affect the entire course of his 
country's history, and to carry this program through in every 
detail. The tremendous will-power, the resistless driving energy, 
the singleness of aim and determination, and the unlimited self- 
reliance required to do this, all speak in tones that admit of no 
denial that the manhood of James K. Polk was that of a man that 
nature cast in a great mould to accomplish great things. Writers 
say that his intense singleness of piupose in executing his plans 
indicate a narrow mind, and if the plans were small and narrow 
this would be legitimate criticism. But Polk's plans were among 
the largest any president ever undertook to carry through. They 
were varied as well as great, and he was the master mind that 
guided, directed and controlled it all. There is no division even 
among imsympathetic historians that he was the one supreme 
pilot of his administration, and led his cabinet and was not led 
by it. Vice-President Dallas said that he, Polk, 'left nothing 
unfinished; what he attempted he did." 

His cabinet was composed of some of the strongest characters 
and ablest leaders in the Democratic party of that day. The 
quality necessary to accomplish Polk's achievements, was the 
quality of leadership manifested in a great and masterful person- 
ality, and this was the supreme quality of Andrew Jackson, who 
is conceded to have been a great president and a great man. 

But Polk was not only a leader. He was almost always a suc- 
cessful leader. He never led a lost cause as President, he never 
had to solace himself with philosophy in defeat. His four years 
of the presidency were troublous years, full of war and diplomacy, 
and in grasping after millions of square miles of territory for his 
country, and in seizing and holding them, he piloted the ship of 
state largely over imcharted seas. Who will say that Polk was 
not a great leader, and if so, who will deny that the qualities 
of great leadership are the qualities of a great man ? 

But did his leadership accomplish great results for his country? 
Bancroft answered this question when he said: '*His adminis- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 269 

tration viewed from the standpoint of results was the greatest in 
our history, ... he succeeded because he insisted on being 
its center and in overruling and guiding all his secretaries to act 
so as to produce imity and harmony." His results included the 
replacing of the protective tariff of 1842 with a tariff for revenue 
only; the passing of the Sub-treasury bill; the settlement with 
England of the dispute over the Oregon boimdary; and the ac- 
quisition of Texas and California. The population now in- 
habiting the territory annexed through Polk and his adminis- 
tration to the Union, are many millions, and constitute a large 
per cent, of the American people, and the wealth of these millions 
constitute a large part of oiu* national wealth. 

But conceding as we must vast achievements to Polk for 
the country, we are led to inquire how far success is a test of 
greatness, when Polk*s critics say he should be classed as a suc- 
cessful, rather than a great man. Successful he undoubtedly 
was, grandly successful, and we do not see how even an imfriendly 
critic could avoid conceding that success in anything, war, states- 
manship, art, literature, invention, is conclusive proof of qualities 
which excell others; and if the success is great in a particular line 
of effort, why is not the generator of success entitled to the ap- 
pellation **great ?*' It is certain that failtu-e is not a test of great- 
ness, and never was so considered by men. The world has 
always lifted its hat to winners, but rarely to losers. We are 
forced to conclude that preeminent success, for example, in 
statesmanship, is one of the strongest argixments for a great man, 
and if we apply this test to James K. Polk his title to great- 
ness is assured. 

No man is preeminent, or even eminent, in all departments 
of human endeavor, and with the limitations of human natiu-e, 
cannot be, but is a man who is conceded to be great in one quality 
or direction, only, entitled to be conceded great ? Does a failure 
to blossom into greatness in more than one direction crush his 
daim to go down in history as a great man ? If it does, it would 
wither and blast the historical setting of many Americans who 
now have room in our National Pantheon. We have had four 
Presidents who rank pre-eminently as great men — ^Washington, 
Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln. 

Washington was a great character and a great patriot, but no 
one ever claimed for him a great intellect. Jefferson was an 
intellectual giant among the Presidents, and still is entitled to 
that appellation, but as an administrator and executive, he was 

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270 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

concededly weak. His work as a constructive statesman in 
helping to formulate and organize a new departtu'e in government 
and putting it in successful operation, is unapproached by any 
American of any period, except Alexander Hamilton, who con- 
tended for the opposite view of government, and whose statesman- 
ship constituted the foimdation of the Federalist party, as Jeflfer- 
son's did that of the Democratic party. 

Jackson was a great leader of phenomenal will power and 
masterly service for his country, and while possessed of a strong 
keen, penetrating and logical mind, would, like Washington, not 
be called a great mind. 

I/incoln's love for his fellowmen was world-embracing; his 
S3rmpathies for the poor, the outcast, the unfortunate, embraced 
all such among the sons and daughters of men; and the stm never 
set on the day when he would not have banished unhappiness 
from all the world if he could. In these qualities he was as near 
the perfection of the Gallilean as oiu* nature can get. His charac- 
ter was the siunmit of the finest and best in oiu* morality. His 
life exhaled the sweetest perfume of oiu* nature; but Lincoln 
was not a great administrator or executive, and aside from his 
emotional and humanitarian expressions, could not be classed 
as a great intellect. He did not rise to the rank of even a second 
class lawyer, compared with the best of his day. The sympathy 
of the world bjirst forth over his assassination, and proclaimed 
him a martyr. But suppose he had lived through his second 
term, and had been compelled to face the problems of recon- 
struction, as Andrew Johnson had to do — to choose between re- 
construction by the President, which he plainly thought the proper 
method, or reconstruction by Congress, which finally prevailed, 
what would have been the relations between him and Congress? 
Would Lincoln have yielded to Congress? It hardly admits of 
a doubt but that he would; and if he had, what would have been 
his historical standing to-day, in the face of the admitted fact 
that reconstruction as carried out was largely a series of bltmders, 
one after another. 

Coming to a later period in our history, it is not probable 
that anybody. Union or Confederate, would deny that General 
U. S. Grant was a great general and military leader, and it is also 
not probable that anybody would claim that Grant was a great 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 271 

History has not progressed very far in awarding to Benjamin 
Harrison or Grover Cleveland a niche in oiu- American Temple 
of great men, but Harrison was a great consitutional lawyer, 
and his intellect was as acute and powerful as any man of his 
day; in coiu-age, aggressiveness, strength of character and self- 
reliance, he also was as great as any man of his day. 

Cleveland was admittedly not a very learned man; he did not 
rank as a great lawyer, as Harrison did, but as a great, forceful,- 
fearless, indomitable personality, preeminently qualified by nature 
to be a leader of a great people, Cleveland was one of the greatest 
men America ever produced. And it is a safe prophecy that as 
time moves forward, and Cleveland's life and career are more 
thoroughly studied, that his title to fame will become pronoimced 
and irrevocable. 

It is clear, therefore, that the American people have not been 
imiformly consistent or settled in their qualification of their 
great men. Since the day when Webster, Clay and Calhoun 
were known as the Great Triumvirate, and Thomas H. Benton 
was not included, the -intelligent American opinion has tended 
to diminish the estimate of Clay, and increase that of Benton; 
and the prophecy now made is not rash, but justified, that the 
estimate of Polk will grow, and continue to grow as the years 
go by, and as the American mind reaches a more thorough com- 
prehension of his career and success as a great administrative 

We naturally associate greatness with a man who exhibits 
extraordinary force, stamina, control of mind, will power, capacity 
for labor, strength of character, indomitable perseverance, and 
masterly handling of public movements and plans which vitally 
affect the destiny afld happiness of the country. We always 
associate force and strength with greatness. Polk had every 
one of the characteristics mentioned, and to spare. Polk's will 
power and pertinacity were as great as that of any of his contem- 
poraries, possibly excepting that of Jackson, but manifested and 
exercised in a different way from Jackson's. 

Bancroft characterizes Polk in this manner: "Polk's char- 
acter shines out in these papers (the Diary) just exactly as he was, 
— prudent, far-sighted, bold, exceeding any Democrat of his day 
in his undeviatingly correct exposition of Democratic principles." 

He came into the Presidential campaign only to meet the 
sneering query of the Whigs: **Who is Polk?" His masterly 

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272 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

conduct of the Mexican War, and his acquisition of a vast empire 
for his country, was met by the wail of Whigery that he bullied 
Mexico to aggrandize the United States. The Anti-slavery prop- 
aganda, arrogating all human virtues as their own, prodaimed 
that Polk's new empire was only to make room for more slaves. 
Unable to defeat him at the ballot box, or to stop the stately pro- 
gress of his execution of the stupendous program he had laid out 
for himself, the propaganda set itself to belittle and blacken every 
success, to impugn every motive, to echo and re-echo the prophecy 
of black disaster all over the land. 

extracts from the diary. 

By permission of the Chicago Historical Society, the author 
presents a number of quotations from the Diary, and makes pro- 
fert of the idea that a man can best be studied and estimated 
by a perusal of his own words: 

''Saturday, 13th, September, 1845. — ^Judge Mason and the 
Postmaster (General) being with the President in his oflSce to-day 
after the Cabinet adjoiuned, Judge Mason informed the President 
that Gov. Pierce M. Butler of S. C. had mentioned to him that 
morning that Bailey Peyton was in the City, and that Mr. Peyton 
had expressed to him a desire to call and pay his respects to the 
President, but that he was restrained from doing so, not knowing 
how the President would receive (him), Gov. Butler (had said), 
as Judge Mason stated, that Mr. Peyton said he had never had 
any personal diflSculty or misunderstanding with the President, 
that in politics he had differed with him, that in the political 
discussions in Tennessee he had used strong language towards 
him, but not stronger than was usual towards political opponents 
in that State. The President said that Mr. Peyton had stated 
the relations between them as he understood (them). He said 
that for several years past he had had no personal intercourse with 
Mr. Peyton in consequence of the violence of party feeling which 
had separated them, but that he had no personal unkind feeling 
towards Mr. Peyton, and that if he called upon him he would 
receive and treat him courteously and respectfully. Judge Mason 
and Mr. Johnson agreed with the President that this would be 
proper. Judge Mason said he would so inform Gov. Butler. 

"Friday, 24th October 1845. — Received to-day a letter from 
Andrew Jackson, Jr., enclosing to me a letter from Gen'l Andrew 
Jackson written on the 6th Jime, 1845, two days before his death, 
and the last letter he ever wrote. This letter breathes the most 
ardent friendship for me personally and for the success of my 
administration. It is marked * 'confidential,** and communicates 
information touching the oflScial conduct of a person high in oflSce, 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 273 

in reference to which Gen'l J. in his dying moments thought it 
proper to put me on my guard. As it is highly confidential, its 
contents will never be disclosed by me or with my permission. 
It will be preserved as a highly prized memorial of the friendship 
of the dying patriot, a friendship which had never been broken, 
from my early youth until the day of his death. Andrew Jackson, 
Jr., in his letter enclosing (it) to me, explains the circumstances 
under which it had been accidentally mislaid among other papers 
on his table in his dying room, and had not been discovered until 
recently before he enclosed it to me. The latter letter I will also 

"Simday, 2nd November, 1845. — Attended the Methodist 
church (called the Foimdary church) today, in company with my 
Private Secretary, J. EInox Walker. It was an inclement day, 
there being rain from an early hour in the morning; & Mrs. Polk 
and the ladies of my household did not attend church today. 
Mrs. Polk being a member of the Presbyterian Church I generally 
attend that Church with her, though my opinions and predilec- 
tions are in favor of the Methodist Church. 

"This was my birthday, being fifty years old, having been 
bom according to the family Register in the family Bible, corro- 
borated by the accoimt given me by my mother, on the 2nd of 
November, 1795. 

**The text today was from the Acts of the Apostles, Ch. 15, 
v. 31 — "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will 
judge the world in righteousness, by the man whom he hath 
ordained." It was Communion day in the Church, and the 
sermon was solemn and forcible. It awakened the reflection 
that I had lived fifty years, and that before fifty years more would 
expire, I would be sleeping with the generations which have gone 
before me. I thought of the vanity of this world's honours, how 
little they would profit me half a century hence, and that it was 
time for me to be "putting my House in Order.'* 

"Thiu^day, 15th January, 1846. — Saw Company as usual in 
my oflSce until 12 o'clock today. At 1 o'clock P. M., Mr. Healey, 
the French artist, sent to the U. S. by the King of the French, 
to take the portraits of Genl. Jackson and other distinguished 
persons, called and exhibited the original portraits of Genl. 
Jackson, Mr. John Quincy Adams, and Mr. Henry Clay. They 
were exhibited in the parlour below stairs in the presence of the 
ladies of the family and some company who had called. I thought 
the portrait of Genl. Jackson, which was completed only four 
da)rfe before his death, very good. Those of Mr. Adams and Mr. 
Clay were fair likenesses. 

"Monday, 16th March, 1846. — Saw company until 12 o'clock 
today, as usual. At 2 o'clock P. M., gave Mr. Healey another 
sitting for my portrait. Mr. Debosier was also present taking 
my miniature. These sittings for artists are becoming very irk- 
some and fatiguing, and I think I will not again yield my consent 

18— vol. 2 

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274 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

to sit for any other, at all events during the Session of Congress 
when my time is necessarily so much occupied by my official duties. 
"Tuesday, 21st of July, 1846. — ^This was the regular day for 
the meeting of the Cabiniet. Before the hour of assembling of the 
Cabinet arrived Andrew Johnson, . one of the Representatives 
from Tennessee, called. He had not been in my office or at the 
President's Mansion for many weeks, indeed months, except 
once for a few minutes about 2 months ago in company with 
the Hon. John Blair and some other East Tennesseeans who called 
and remained for a few minutes. After stating a trivial matter 
of business which I suppose was his apology or pretext for calling, 
he said there was a matter that he wished to talk about with me. 
He said he had held a conversation with Mr. Cave Johnson (the 
P. M. Genl) a few days ago, and was siuprised to learn from him 
that his course in opposition to the administration, as he said 
Mr. C. Johnson informed him, was understood and marked by 
the administration. He was very much agitated in his manner. 
He said he did not wish to be imderstood as making an apology, 
and then went on to say that he was a Democrat & had spent a 
great deal of time and money in my support in Tennessee, and par- 
ticularly in 1844, and complained that his politics shoud now 
be suspected. He said he thought it best to come to me and hold 
a frank conversation with me at once. I told him I was glad he 
had done so, and that I would be equally frank with him. I 
told him that having belonged to the same party and having acted 
with him pohtically in Tennessee, I had no other thought at the 
opening of the present Session of Congress than that he would 
be a friend and supporter of my administration, that I was pleased 
at his election and expected to be on terms of free intercourse with 
him, but that I had heard from members of Congress, that he 
and Geo W. Jones of Tennessee were, from some cause imknown 
to me, dissatisfied, and were often finding fault with my adminis- 
istration. I told him that members of the House had come to 
me and enquired what they meant by their course; and had stated 
to me that upon some occasions when they had expostulated with 
them against their course, and had tu-ged them to support par- 
ticular measures because they were administration measures, 
that they had replied that they were independent men and were 
not imder the dictation of any body. I told him that he knew 
I had not attempted to dictate to them, or in any way to control 
their course, and that I thought this strange language to come 
from Representatives from my own State who had been elected 
as democrats. I told him that I did not know that it was neces- 
sary to specify instances of his opposition, but that I would men- 
tion one, and more if necessary. It was this, that when some 
weeks ago a bill was before the House concerning the appoint- 
ment of Clerks, in the public offices at Washington, Mr. Douglas 
of Illinois remarked that the President would be poorly employed 
in the pitiful and little business of appointing clerks & messen- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 275 

gers, or to this purport, he (Mr. Johnson) in a sarcastic and bitter 
tone as I was informed, rose and asked Mr. Douglas if the; Presi- 
dent was not at the very moment engaged in that employment. 
Much surprise had been expressed to me by niembers of Congress 
at such an attack from a Tennessee democrat. I told him I had 
seen the report of what he had said in the newspapers of the City 
and that I had never seen it corrected. I told him that he knew 
that he had done me injustice, and that he himself had impor- 
tuned me early in the session about appointing clerks, and espec- 
ially about promoting Mr. Russell of East Tennessee, and I sup- 
posed had been dissatisfied because it was not done. I told 
him that I regarded this occur(r)ence as evidence of his hostility, 
and this added to the many instances in which he had been found 
acting with my poUtical opponemts, coupled with the facts that 
I had heard he had often made complaints publicly of my Ten- 
nessee appointments, and that he had kept himself away from me 
for three or four months, had confirmed me in the opinion that 
he was acting in hostihty to my administration. He had men- 
tioned the fact in the course of his conversation that George W. 
Jones, and himself had been marked by the administration & their 
course condemned. I told him that Mr. Jones' course had been 
highly exceptionable; that among other things Mr. Jones had in 
the early part of the Session, in a speech in the House made a 
violent s^nd unwarranted attack on the Post Master Gen'l and 
the Attorney Gen'l, and had upon other occasions given conclusive 
evidence of his opposition to the administration. I told him 
that Mr. Cave Johnson had informed me that a few weeks ago in 
his oflSce Mr. Jones had broken out in a violent strain in the 
presence of strangers who were present, and said that the only 
way to get an office from this administration was to become 
doubtful in politics, and then be bought up. I told Mr. Johnson 
I had not given either him or Mr. Jones any cause for their 
extraordinary course. I told him that in consequence of it, when 
I came to make the late miUtary appointments in Tennessee, I 
had sent for and consulted the other democratic members from 
the State, but had not sent for them. He said if he was to be a 
victim he wished to know it. I told him the administration had 
not attempted to make a victim of him, but that his course was a 
matter to be settled between him and his constituents. I told 
him that though I had reason to be dissatisfied with his course, 
I had never mentioned it to any one of his constituents, although 
John Blair and several others of them had been here. He said 
that Jones was a good democrat and that he was one. I told 
him I had always regarded them as such, but that certainly their 
coiu-se at the present session was a very singular one. I told 
him that I had been the friend of Jones and of himself and that 
I had expected to receive from them that support which all 
preceding administrations had received from ^e members of 
Congress of their own party from their own State, but that instead 

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276 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

of that not a word had been said in my vindication by either of 
them at times when I had been violently as3ailed by the Whigs 
in the Ho. Repts. He said he thought Mr. Martin and Mr. 
Stanton had my confidence, I told him that at the beginning of 
the session I had confidence in all the democratic representatives 
from Tennessee, and that I had now in these two gentlemen and 
in Mr. Cullum and Mr. Chase, and that it was only because of 
the unaccountable course of Mr. Jones & himself that I had been 
most reluctantly compelled to regard them as being unfriendly 
to me and to my administration. It was a conversation more than 
an hour's length, and it was manifest from the tenor of it that he 
wished to play the demagogue at home, and to assume that the 
administration intended to attack him and make a victim of him. 
This I repelled at once, and told him I should pursue my pubUc 
policy, and submit my public conduct to the coimtry, that I 
sought to control no man's coiu-se, that he had a perfect right to 
differ with me if he chose to do so, and that if he did so, the people 
and especially his democratic constituents, who were my friends, 
would judge between us. In. the latter part of the conversation 
he was subdued in his tone, and recounted the political services 
he rendered me in Tennessee, and alluded to and dwelt on the 
abuse he had received from the Whigs in his district & especially 
from Brownlow in his paper at Jonesborough. I told him that 
his com^e and that of Mr. Jones, coming as they did from my 
own State, had given me great concern and pain, and that I had 
no desire to have any collision with them, but that their coiu"se 
had almost forced it upon me. He left professing to be a good 
democrat and denying that he was opposed to me or my admin- 
istration. The truth is that neither Johnson or Jones have been 
my personal friends since 1839. They were in the Baltimore 
Convention in 1844, and were not my friends then. I doubt 
whether any two members of that convention were at heart more 
dissatisfied with my nomination for the Presidency than they were. 
This I learned from members of the convention from Tennessee. 
Mr. Johnson, I was informed, said at Baltimore when my nomina- 
tion was suggested that it was a **humbug." There are no two 
districts in Tennessee more democratic or in which I have more 
devoted friends than those represented by Johnson and Jones, 
and though I have it in my power, as I believe, by communicating 
the truth to their constituents to destroy them politically, I have 
not done so. They seem to assume to themselves the right to 
judge of the appointments in Tennessee, and to denounce them 
among the members of Congress and in boarding houses, as 
though they were responsible for them. I think it fortunate that 
they have now learned that their course has not been unobserved 
by me. Perhaps their course may hereafter be better, but I am 
satisfied if it is so it will only be from the fear of their constituents. 
I would almost prefer to have two Whigs here in their stead, unless 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 277 

they act better than they have done at the present Session of 

'Wednesday, 19th August, 1846. — ^This morning at 9 o'clock 
I went on board the Steamer Osceola with Mrs. Polk, her niece. 
Miss Rucker, and two servants to take an excursion to Fortress 
Monroe. We took two servants with us. Maj'r E. P. McNeal, 
his wife, daughter, and Miss Williams, the sister of Mrs. McNeal, 
all of Tennessee, who had been a day or two at the Presidential 
Mansion, accompanied us. My intention is to take an excursion 
of only three or four days. It is my first absence from Washington 
since I have been President, except a single day in the spring of 
1845, when I visited Moimt Vernon, going and retiuning on the 
same day. My long confinment to my office has considerably 
enfeebled me & rendered some recreation necessary. After having 
looked into the laws passed by the last Session of Congress and 
given the necessary directions for carrying them into effect, no 
public interest will, I think, suffer my absence for a few (days). 
All the members of the Cabinet agreed to remain at their posts, 
except Judge Mason, the Atto. Gen'l, who at my request accom- 
panied me. Mr. Buchanan promised me to call at my office daily 
and examine my letters, and if anything should occur requiring 
my personal attention I am to be immediately advised of it. 
The mail passes daily from Washington, to Fortress Monroe, so, 
that in less than 24 hours I can hear from Washington. In the 
absence of my Private Secretary from Washington, I left WiUiam 
V. Voorhies, Esqr., a confidential and trust-worthy young man, 
in charge of my office. At 9 o'clock I went on board the Osceola. 
I found the Secretaries of the Treasury, War, and Navy at the 
steamboat. They accompanied me as far as Alexandria & re- 
turned to Washington. The passage down the Potomac was a 
pleasant one. Before dark the wind rose, and after passing the 
mouth of the Potomac we foimd the Bay very rough. Always 
(almost) every one on board was affected by sea-sicktiess. Mrs. 
Polk, Miss Rucker, & Mrs. McNeal were very sick. I was not 
myself sick. Between 1 & 2 o'clock A. M. of August 20th we 
reached the Fortress, where I was received by Col. Derusser and 
conducted to the Quarters which had been provided for me. Col. 
Totten of tlfe Engineer corps with his wife accompanied me. 
Col. Totten had written to Col. Derusser to provide quarters for 
me. Col. Totten was very poUte and attentive and caused every 
necessary provision to be made for our comfort. My quarters 
were in a comfortable cottage with four rooms near the sea-beach, 
being the same heretofore occupied by President Tyler when 
visiting this Post. 

"Wednesday, 26th August, 1846. — ^Twelve months ago this 
day, a very important conversaton took place in Cabinet between 
m3rself and Mr. Buchanan on the Oregon question. This conver- 
sation was of so important a character, that I deemed it proper 
on the same evening to reduce the substance of it to writing for the 

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278 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

purpose of retaining it more distinctly in my memory. This I 
did on separate sheets. It was this circumstances which first 
suggested to me the idea if not the necessity, of keeping a journal 
or ddary of events and transactions which might occur during my 
Presidency. I resolved to do so & accordingly prociued a blank 
book for that purpose on the next day, in which I have every day 
since noted whatever occtured that I deemed of interest. Some- 
times I have found m3rself so much engaged with my public duties, 
as to be able to make (only) a very condensed and imperfect state- 
ment of events and incidents which occurred, and to (be forced to) 
omit others altogether which I would have been pleaded to have 
noted. The statements of the events which occur (r)ed on the 
26th of Agu't, 1845, were never transcribed into the bound book 
but they will be fotmd on the separate sheets on which they were 
written preceding Book No. 1. 

"Monday, 2d November, 1846. — ^This is my birthday. Accord- 
ing to the entry in my father's family Bible I was bom on the 2nd 
day of Nov., 1795, and my mother has told me\that the event 
occurred as near as she could tell about 12 o'clock. Meridian, 
on that day. I am consequently 51 years old today. The last 
year has been one of great anxiety and labour to me. This was 
reception evening. A number of persons, ladies and gentlemen, 

"Friday, 15th January, 1847.— When I entered my oflSce 
this morning I found visitors tvaiting in the antiroom. I directed 
them to be shown in, and from that time imtil my dinner hour 
I was not alone 10 minutes. The constant pressure and impor- 
tunity for office is not only disgusting, but it is almost beyond 
endurance. I keep my temper, or rather suppress the indignation 
which I feel at the sordid and selfish views of the horde of people 
who continually annoy me about place. Members of Congress 
have caught the prevailing desire for office for themselves, and 
today I had another application for an office for one of them. 
It was made by Senator Cameron of Penn. in behalf of Mr. Leib 
of the Ho. Repts. He wished to have me appoint Mr. Leib a 
purser in the Navy Department last evening. I told him plainly 
that I would not appoint a member of Congress, unless 
it was for a high military station in time of War, or for a Mission 
abroad, or some such station. In other words that my general 
rule was not to appoint members of Congress to office. Judging 
from what ciccurred in similar cases heretofore, I have no doubt 
Mr. Leib will be an opponent of my administration during the 
balance of my term. At least 20 members of the present Con- 
gress have been disappointed in the same way, and in all cases 
I have observed that they have afterwards voted against the 
measures which I have recommended. They have, however, 
taken special care never to assign the true reasons for their coiu-se. 
They have openly opposed my administration, but whenever they 
could do so without exposure to their constituents and the public, 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbsseb History 279 

they have done so. If God grants me length of days and health, 
I will, after the exph-ation of my term, give a history of the selfish 
and corrupt considerations which influence the course of pubUc 
men, as a legacy to posterity. I shall never be profited by it, 
but those who come after me may be. 

"Thursday, 28th January, 1846. — It is two years since I left 
my residence at Columbia, Tennessee, to enter on my duties as 
President of the U. S. Since that time I have performed great 
labour and incurred vast responsibilities. In truth, though I 
occupy a very high position, I am the hardest working man in this 

"Friday, 19th, February,' 1847. — ^My office was crowded this 
morning with visitors, most of them seeking military appoint- 
ments. For the last week I have been greatly annoyed by this 
kind of importimity. The City is crowded with yoimg men, 
many of them loafers without merit, seeking military appointments. 
Members of Congress tell me that they are compdled to come 
with their constituents to present their claims, and some of the 
members apologize for troubUng me as much as they do. One 
thing is certain, and that is that I could soon have an army of of- 
ficers, such as they would be, if I could appoint all the appUcants. 
I have endeavoured in vain to turn over the horde of applicants to 
the Secretary of War, that I might have his Report upon their 
respective merits, but find it to be impossible, because I cannot 
refuse to give audience to my fellow citizens who call upon me. 
For more than a week I have been occupied three or four hours 
every day in hearing the speeches and representations of the office 
seekers and their fiiends who pressed their claims for miUtary 
appointments. I have pushed them off and fought them with 
both hands like a man fighting fire, and endeavoured to drive 
them to the Secretary of War as the regular channel of approach 
to the President in matters relating to the military service. It 
has all been in vain. I cannot, without insulting them, refuse 
to see Senators and Representatives who call in behalf of their 
constittients, and therefore I am compelled to bear their impor- 
tunity with philosophical patience. I am often exceedingly dis- 
gusted with the scenes which occur in my office, but keep my tem- 
per and endure the painful labour which is imposed upon me with 
patience. I could bear this labour with more patience if members 
of Congress and others were more candid, and would not, as they 
do, constantly deceive me about appointments. I am almost 
ready at some times to conclude that all men are selfish, and that 
there is no reliance to be placed in any of the human race. Really 
such would be the fact, if I were to judge from some of the imposi- 
tions which have been made upon me. Even members of Con- 
gress have no hesitation in deceiving me in order to obtain ap- 
pointments for their < constituents, though there is every reason 
to believe that they know them to be imworthy. 

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280 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"Wednesday, 3rd March, 1847. — In the course of the evening 
I tendered the office of Maj'r General in the army to Senator 
Houston of Texas, who declined accepting it. I then tendered 
the same office through Mr. Houston & Mr. Elaufman of the 
Ho. Repts. to Senator Rusk of Texas, who also declined accepting 
it, as Mr. Kaufman reported to me. I saw Senator Benton & 
had a few minutes conversation with him. He knew that I had 
intended to appoint him Lieut. General if a law had passed creat- 
ing that rank. As no such law had passed, he said to me that if 
I chose I could nominate him as Maj'r General. I told him (I) 
would do so. I did so accordingly & he was confirmed by the 
Senate with the other general officers whom I nominated 

"Tuesday, 22nd June, to Wednesday, 7th July, 1847.— At 12 
O'clock M. on Tuesday, the 22nd, of June, 1847, I left Washing- 
ton on a tour through the Northern and Eastern States,, and 
retiuTied to Washington on the evening of Wednesday, the 7th 
of July, 1847. Mrs. Polk and her niece, Miss Rucker, accom- 
panied me as far as Baltimore, where they separated from me on 
the morning of Wednesday, the 23rd, of June. At 7 O'Clock 
on the morning of that day they set out for Tennessee, accom- 
panied by Mr. Russmann, and I set out for Philadelphia. I was 
accompanied by Mr. Clifford, the Atto. Gen'l of the U. S., Mr. 
Burke, commissioner of Patents, and Mr. Appleton, the chief 
clerk of the Navy Department, the latter acting as my Private 
Secretary. At Philadelphia Commodore Stewart of the U. S. 
Navy joined me, upon my invitation as one of suite, and accom- 
panied me throughout my tour imtil my return to Philadelphia 
on the evening of the 6th of July, 1847. On Sunday afternoon, 
the 27th of June, 1847, Mr. Buchanan, the Secretary of State, 
joined me, and accompanied me throughout the balance of the 
tour imtil my return to Philadelphia, where he remained a day 
& arrived at Washington one day after I did. Mr. Appleton left 
me on my return jotuney at Portland in Maine, on the morning 
of Monday, the 5th of July, and Mr. Burke left me at Boston on 
the evening of the same day. 


Mrs. George W. Fall of Nashville, Tennessee, was a great 
niece of James K.Polk, and inherited the journal kept by John 
Appleton, a native of Maine, of the tour of President Polk 
through the Northern States in Jime and July, 1847, and Mrs. 
Fall addressed the following note in reference to this joiunal to 
the Honorable J. M. Dickinson, of Tennessee, but now, (1919) 
of Chicago, and Secretary of War in the cabinet of William 
H. Taft: 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 281 

bfrs. george w. fall to j. m. dickinson. 

"Polk Place, Nov. 24, 1897. 
"Judge J. M. Dickinson, My Dear Sir: — ^Thinking the en- 
closed diary of ex-President Polk, in which I find some corres- 
pondence of yours, might be of some historic interest and value 
to you and yours, it gives me much pleasure to ask your accept- 
ance of the same. Yours very truly, • 

"Mrs. George W. Fall. 
"307 North Vine Street." 

This jotunal consists of two hundred* or more pages of manu- 
script on old fashioned blue letter paper, artistically bound in 
Russia leather, and on the inside cover, which is lined with pink 
brocade, is an inscHption in the writing of President Polk: 

" *This journal of my tour through the northern states in 
June and July, 1847, was prepared by John Appleton, Esq., of 
Maine, who was one of my suite, and accompanied me. 

"Mr. Appleton, after his return to Washington, prepared this 
joiunal from his notes, and presented it to me on the 27th of 
October, 1847. J. K. P." 

On the first page of the journal Appleton says: 

"The journey was undertaken with no poHtical piupose, 
but with a desire on his (the President's) part to observe more 
closely than he had ever before had opportimity to do, the in- 
stitutions and people of the northern portion of his country, 
and especially to witness the condition and to become acquainted 
with the inhabitants of the States which compose New England." 

The tour included Baltimore, two days in Philadelphia at 
the residence of Vice-President George M. Dallas, Camden, New 
Jersey, New York, New Haven, Hartford, Springfield, Boston, 
Lowell, Manchester, Portsmouth, Newburyport, Portland and 
Augusta. The President returned to Washington July 7, 1847, 
after having traveled fourteen hundred miles through nine States, 
and been absent from Washington sixteen days. 

Historically, this jotuney of the President is important only 
as it discloses the genuine respect for him, and his wide popu- 
larity, and for two or three significant expressions of opinion 
which he gave in some of the numerous speeches he was called 
upon to make. Hospitality, rich, cordial, profuse and dignified, 
and from all classes of citizens, was extended to the President 

His most interesting and emphatic expression of opinion in 
his speeches was, curiously enough, on the subject of secession. 

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282 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

He was a slave-holder from a slave State, and elected by the South 
and the slave power. His greatest achievement was the paving 
of the way for the annexation of Texas, a slave State. Only 
a few years before Andrew Jackson had given* battle to the nulli- 
fiers of South Carolina, and that issue was only deferred, not 
settled. In 1847 this slave-holding President was as tmqualifiedly 
a Union man as could be found in the Union. In numerous of 
his addresses he stressed the idea of Union. 

He spoke of "The legacy of freedom which we hold in sacred 
trust, not only for ourselves, but for our descendants, and the 
common purpose of all parties to preserve the integrity of the 
Union and support the stability of free institutions." 

"The Union of States is the pole star of our hope and the 
sweet safeguard of himian liberty throughout the world. He 
who would inflict a fatal blow upon that frame of society, glorious 
alike in its formation and results, would hazard a calamity which 
no patriot and no lover of his race can contemplate without 
alarm. Let the Union be dissolved, and instead of the spectacle 
which we now present to the world of a confederacy of united 
and prosperous States, we shall exhibit, as the mournful proof, 
dissevered councils, an extended series of petty principalities 
without harmony in either, and wasting their resources and their 
energies by warring among each other. Dissolve the Union 
and the last example of freedom to the oppressed will at once be 
destroyed, and the only hope of mankind for well regulated 
government will be lost forever from the earth.'* 

"I rejoice that so great an honor has been permitted to me 
imder Providence that I have the opportimity to recommend 
here, as I would recommend in all parts of oiw beloved coimtry, 
the cultivation of that feeling of brotherhood and mutual regard 
between the North and South, without which we may not antici- 
pate the perpetuity of our free institutions." 

In various addresses Mr. Polk "implored the people to cherish 
and respect our venerable Union of States and to transmit it as 
the choicest of earthly blessings, and as necessary for the security 
and happiness of our posterity." 

Appleton summed up his conclusions about the journey as 

"No President could ever have had a more gratifying journey. 
It was crowded with instances, but not one of them was un- 
pleasant. The offerings of respect and kindness which he re- 
ceived were the more valuable because they were purely volimtary. 
Wherever we went we found an attachment to our present gov- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 283 

eminent overriding all regard for sections or for parties, and mani- 
fested itself as a fixed and imalterable sentiment, too sacred ever 
to be called in question. 

"The occurrences of the entire journey indicated not only a 
President satisfied with his coimtry, but a coimtry satisfied with 
its President." 

Appleton closes his journal, which is faithful, dignified and 
thoughtful, in this modest way: 

"The foregoing journal, it is beUeved, the principal events 
of his northern tour, has been prepared at the request of the Presi- 
dent, and with the hope that he may be able at some future day 
to refer to it with interest and satisfaction. It exhibits, of necessity 
a faithful sketch of a large portion of our coimtry, and if another 
President should make similar excursion a half centtuy hence 
it would be curious and not unprofitable to compare the account 
of that excursion with the narrative recorded here. 

"It might have been enlarged almost indefinitely by adding 
to it the numerous incidents which related only to members of 
his suite; but these appeared rather to belong to the private 
memoranda of those gentlemen than to this journal, and were 
therefore studiously omitted. Enough is doubtless here* to 
weary the patience of any reader in whose mind there are no 
pleasant memories of the trip to be awakened, but not too much, 
it is believed, to answer the purpose for which it is designed. 

"It has been written amid intervals of leisure, snatched from 
laborious occupation, and contains many imperfections; but it 
contains, it is hoped, no essential errors of fact and has been 
certainly prepared with an earnest desire to 'nothing extenuate 
nor set down aught in malice.* As it is, it is respectfully sub- 
mitted, — 'What is writ is writ — ^would it were worthier!' " 

"Thursday, 23rd December, 1847. — I received company as 
usual this morning. Several members of Congress & many other 
persons odled. I disposed of business on my table. After the 
company had retired I sent for Mr. Buchanan. He called, and 
I informed him that I learned that an anonymous letter pur- 
porting to have written in this City had appeared in the N. York 
Herald, but which I had not read, to the efi'ect that by my agency 
the Teimessee State convention, which is to meet at Nashville 
on the 8th of January next, would nominate Gen'l Cass for the 
Presidency, and that my object was to produce the confusion 
among the Democratic aspirants, with a view ultimately to obtain 
the nomination myself. I told him that the whole story was 
false, that I had written to no one in Tennessee on the subject, 
and that I thought it proper to say to him that the whole story 
was false. He asked me if I had written to Gen'l Cass in the 
last recess of Congress, requesting him to be chairman of the 
military committee of the Senate. I promptly replied that I 
had not written to him on that or any other subject. He said 

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284 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

that he had read the letter in the Herald, and such was the state- 
ment made by the writer. I told him that it was false. He 
then said that it was generally understood among members of 
the Congress that I was favourable to Genl Cass's nomination, 
at which he could not complain. I replied with some emphasis 
that I had never given the slightest indication for any one of the 
Democratic party as my successor, and repeated two or three 
times tliat he gave me (the) first intimation to that effect that I 
had ever heard. I told him frankly that I had not (taken) 
and should not take any part in (the) selection by the Democratic 
party of a candidate to succeed me; that when the Democratic 
national convention should make a nomination, I would be for 
the nominee, be him (he) whom he might, I told him that the 
Democratic party must make their own nomination of a candi- 
date, without any interference or agency of mine. 

"I told him further that my own administration was to last 
foiuteen months, and that I could take no part among the Demo- 
cratic aspirants to succeed me, without arraying against me all 
the friends of other aspirants than the one I might prefer; & 
that in this way all my measures connected with the war and 
other subjects would be voted down, and that I myself would 
become of no consideration & could have no influence in carrying 
out my measures. I repeated to him that I had & would preserve 
a strict neutrality in the selection of a candidate for the Demo- 
cratic party as my successor; that for myself my resolution was 
unchanged, and that I should retire voluntarily at the close of 
my term of office. Mr. Buchanan no doubt considers himself 
a candidate for the nomination, and is nervous and exhibits a 
degree of weakness on the subject that is almost incredible. My 
object in holding the conversation with him to-day was, first, 
to tell him that the letter published in the Herald was false, 
and secondly, that I should act a neutral part and have no agency 
in selecting the candidate of the Democracy to succeed me. He 
seemed to be in a gloomy mood, &, judging from his manner, 
left me dis(s)atisfied. If this be so, I shall regret it, but shall 
not change my determination. While I am President I cannot 
become the partisan of Mr. Buchanan or any one else. After 
a regular nomination is made, I shall support the nominee. I 
regret to be under the impression that for some weeks past Mr. 
B. seems to have been so much absorbed with the idea of being 
President that I cannot rely, as formerly, upon his advice given 
in the Cabinet upon public subjects. My impression is that all 
his opinions are formed and controlled by the consideration of 
the means best calculated to enable him to succeed in getting 
the nomination as my successor. He seems to have lost sight 
of the success of my administration & to be acting alone with a 
view to his own personal advancement. I feel embarrassed by 
his position as a member of my Cabinet, but am resolved not to 
sacrifice the great measures of my own administration to gratify 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 285 

him or any one else, & I gave him so distinctly to miderstand 

''Monday, 27th December, 1847. — Immediately after break- 
fast this morning Daniel Saffrons, from Gallatin, Tennessee, 
called. He had informed me at my drawing room on Friday 
evening last that he desired to see me alone this morning. The 
object of his visit was to reconcile the former differences which 
had for some years past separated Senator Bell of Tennessee & 
myself and had prevented all personal intercom-se between us. 
He said that he came with no authority to do so, but in the course 
of his conversation it was quite clear that Mr. Bell knew he was 
coming for the purpose of opening the way for the renewal of our 
social intercourse. He said that Mr. Bell had expressed to him 
his intention of supporting my policy upon the Mexican War & 
the tariff; that Mr. Bell had expressed himself as retaining no 
feelings of asperity towards me. He said he had told Mr. Bell 
it was his duty to call on me and that he should do so on the 1st 
of January, and had fiuther expressed to him the opinion that if 
he did so, he had no doubt I wotdd invite him to Dinner. He 
said Mr. Bell had replied that he hoped if he did call and I should 
invite him to Dinner, that I would not put him ih among an 
exclusive democratic party, but would have some other Whigs 
present. I told Mr. Saffrons that my Dinner parties were never 
of a partisan character. Mr.' Saffrons said that Mr. Bell had 
said that he could say to me; and here (he) immediately caught 
himself and said that he was not authorized to say anything by 
Mr. Bell, but he knew that Mr. Bell's feelings were not unkind, 
& that he would call if he thought he would be kindly received. 
He said that something was said, too, about the ladies & a doubt 
how Mrs. Polk would receive Mrs. Bell if she called. He said 
he had held a conversation with Mr. & Mrs. Bell on the subject 
on last evening, & I have no doubt he came upon a special mis- 
sion on the subject. I said to Mr. Saffrons that if Mr. Bell 
chose to call on me I would certainly receive him coiuteously 
& kindly; that it was true Mr. Bell & myself had for some years 
been on different sides of politics, and were perhaps regarded as 
rivals for popular favoiu- in Tennessee, but I retained no 
asperity of fedings towards him, &, indeed, that I had not an 
unkind feeling towards him personally; that probably both of 
us had upon some occasions gone too far, but that I was willing 
that all this should be forgotten. I told him that my futm-e 
residence would be at Nashville, and that when I retired foiuteen 
months hence, I should never aspire to fill any office; and that I 
desired in my retirement to live on terms of social intercourse 
with all my neighbors, of whom Mr. Bell would be one. In fine, 
I said to him that if Mr. Bell chose to call I would receive him 
courteously and would suffer our past relations to be forgotten. 
Mr. Saffrons seemed to be highly gratified. I told him that as 

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286 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

to the ladies I had no doubt Mrs. Polk would receive Mrs. Bell 
kindly, if she called on her. 

"Tuesday, January 4th, 1848. — ^This morning about 10 
O'clock, the Hon. John Bell of Nashville, Tennessee, recently 
elected to the Senate of the U. S. called. I received him cour- 
teously. He appeared at first somewhat embarrassing (embar- 
rassed), but by my manner and conversation I soon put him at 
ease. I had not spoken to him since the contest between us for 
speaker of the Ho. Repts., in 1834 & 1835. In June, 1834, he 
was elected over me, when Mr. Stevenson resigned, & in Dec, 
1835, 1 was elected over him, and again in 1837. About the same 
period Judge White was brought out for the President (Presi- 
dency), and ever since that time Mr. Bell and myself had belonged 
& still belong, to different political parties. The contests be- 
tween us in Tennessee had been violent and even bitter for years. 
He had now called on me, and I knew in advance that he was 
desirous to be on terms of social & personal intercourse with 
me (see my conversation with Mr. Daniel Saffrons and Senator 
Tumey, noted in this journal some days ago) and I, therefore, 
shortly after he came in, said to him that I was glad to see him, 
and that so far as I was concerned I was willing to let bye-gones 
be bye-gones, to let the past be forgotten, and to renew with him 
our personal intercourse. He said that was his desire, that we 
were to live neighbours, when we retired from public life, and 
that he desired to be on terms of friendship. I expressed similar 
desires on my part. He enquired for Mrs. Polk and I for Mrs. 
Bell. My whole interview with him was of an agreeable charac- 
ter. He remained for half an hour or more, and conversed freely 
about the Mexican war and other subjects. Before he left I told 
him Mrs. Polk would be glad to see Mrs. Bell. He intimated 
that there had been some difficulty on that point, but ^that Mrs. 
Bell would call soon. I suppose the difficulty consisted in the 
pride which ladies some times feel, which makes them reluctant 
to yield to each other, and the fact that the established etiquette 
of the Presidential office required the first call from Mrs. Bell. 
He left apparently well pleased with his interview with me. 

"Friday, 24th March, 1848 — I have constantly, for months, 
felt the embarrassment which he (Buchanan) gave me by remain- 
ing in the Cabinet. He has been selfish, & all his acts and opin- 
ions seem to have been controlled with a view to his own advance- 
ment, so much that I have no confidence or reliance in any advice 
he may give upon public questions. I could not, though feeling 
sensibly the embarrassment which his remaining in the Cabinet, 
and his selfish views, produced, dismiss him during the pendency 
of the war with Mexico, and in the face of a talented and power- 
ful opposition in Congress, without the hazard of doing great 
injury to my administration be endangering the success of all my 
measures. I have therefore borne with him and overlooked his 
weaknesses, for the sake of the public good. He is probably 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 287 

now troubled, in consequence of the investigations going on in the 
Senate concerning the publication in the New York Herald, through 
the agency of his political friend & my calinnbiator, Nugent, and 
it is a little singular that this precise period of time is selected by 
him to request a copy of his letter to me of February, 1845. I 
will search for his letter & direct my Private Secretaiy to give 
him a copy. 

•'Saturday, 25th March, 1848— After they retired I felt it 
to be proper to send for Mr. Buchanan & to hold a conversation 
with him on the subject, and I did so. It was the first conversa- 
tion I had had with him on the subject. He had not mentioned 
it to me, and I had felt a delicacy and reluctance to mention it 
to him sooner. He said he had had no agency in causing the pub- 
lication to be made; that he had heard all that had occurred be- 
fore the committee of the Senate who were investigating it; and that 
he was able to accoimt for all the printed copies of the Treaty and 
correspondence which had been ftunished to the State Depart- 
ment. He said that a conspiracy had been formed by certain 
Senators to fix the publication on him, or rather that Nugent, 
the correspondent of the New York Herald, had obtained the 
copy of the Treaty and correspondence from him, or from the 
State Department. He said that he had written a letter to 
Senator Cameron denying it, but had not sent it, as, on reflect- 
ion, he thought his position as Secretary of State and his character 
should protect him from such an imputation. He spoke very 
harshly of Senator Wescott, and said he was capable of selling 
the copy to which he was entitled as a Senator for two dollars. 
He asked me if I thought he had ftunished the copy to Nugent. 
I told (him) I did not. Of course I could not say otherwise after 
his positive denial that he had. I expressed my contempt for 
Nugent and all the other hired letter writers at Washington, re- 
garding them, as I did, as employees wholly destitute of princi- 
ple, and my regret that he had had any connection or intercourse 
with them. I said to him that I had expressed this opinion of 
them to him some weeks ago (see this diary of that period) and 
regretted extremely that he had since that time permitted Nugent 
to continue to visit his Department, & hold confidential inter- 
course with him, and that he would now see the consequences of 
having done so. He said he had permitted him to do so in order 
to secure the support of the New York Herald to the Mexican 
War, and of (to) the administration. He said he supposed that 
he had written or revised twenty articles which Nugent had caused 
to appear in the Herald, supporting the war, and that Mr. Walker 
had through Nugent caused the Herald to support his Treasiuy 
Report and financial policy, I replied that it would (have) been 
much better to let the Herald take any course it pleased, rather 
(than) have anything to do with this imprincipled hired letter 
writer. I told him that he knew that Nugent had been for months 
(calumniating), and still continued to caluminate and abuse me 

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288 Andrew Jackson and Earjuy Tennessee History 

in his infamous letters, to the Herald, and that this was a singular 
mode of giving the support of the Herald to my administration. 
He said that Mr. Walker and himself had both urged Nugent not 
to abuse me, but that they could not restrain or prevent him from 
doing so. I told him that it was deeply to be regretted that he 
had permitted so imprindpled a scotmdrel to approach him, or 
to have anything to do with him. I did not say to him, because 
I desired if possible to avoid a rupture with him, that in my opin- 
ion no member of my Cabinet who was faithful to my adminis- 
tration and to me, would employ for any purpose a man who was 
habitually abilsing & caltmmiating the Head of the Government. 
My conversation with Mr. Buchanan on the point of his inter- 
course with this fellow, Nugent, was not satisfactory. 

"Thursday 2nd., November, 1848 — This is my birthday. 
According to the record in my father's family Bible I was bom on 
the 2nd. of November, 1795. I am, therefore, fifty three years 
old. It will be 21 years on tomorrow since my father died. My 
mother is still living. Upon each reciurence of my birthday I 
am solemnly impressed with the vanity & emptiness of wordly 
honors and wordly enjoyments, and of (the wisdom of) preparing 
for a future estate. In four months I shall retire from public life 
forever. I have lived three foiwths of the period ordinarily 
allotted to men on earth. I have been highly honored by my 
fellow-men and have filled the highest station on earth, but I will 
soon go the way of all the earth. I pray God to prepare me to 
meet the great event. 

'Wednesday, 8th November, 1848 — Information received by 
the telegraph and pubhshed in the morning papers of this City 
and Baltimore indicate the election of Gen'l Taylor as President 
of the U. S. Should this be so, it is deeply to be regretted. With- 
out political information and without experience in civil life, he 
is wholly tmquahfied for the station, and being elected by the Fed- 
eral party and the various factions of dissatisfied persons who 
have from time to time broken off from the Democratic party, 
h6 must be in their hands and be imder their absolute control. 
Having no opinions or judgment of his own upon any one public 
subject, foreign or domestic, he will be compelled to rely upon 
the designing men of the Federal party who will cluster around 
him, and will be made to reverse, so far as the Executive can re- 
verse, the whole policy of my administration, and to substitute 
the Federal policy in its stead. The country will be the loose 
(loser) by his election, and on this accoimt it is an event which I 
should deeply regret. 

"Monday, 1st January, 1849. — ^This being the first day of a 
new year, the President's mansion was thrown open for the recep- 
tion of visitors. Between 1 1 and 12 o'clock, company commenced 
arriving. A very large crowd called, larger than is usual on such 
occasions. Every parlour, the East room, & outer hall were 
crowded. All the foreign ministers and the persons attached 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 289 

to their respective Legations appeared in their Court Dresses. 
Many officers of the Army and Navy were present in their full 
imiform. The Cabinet and their families, Judges of the Supreme 
& District Courts, Senators and Representatives in Congress, 
citizens and strangers, were of the immense crowd. I received 
the crowd in the circular parloiu-, and for three hours shook hands 
with a dense* column of human beings of all ages and sexes. The 
Marshall of the D. C. and his Deputies and the commissioner of 
Public Buildings stood near me and preserved order and caused 
the crowd, after shaking hands, to pass on into the other par- 
loiu-s and the East Room. So dense was the crowd & so great 
the jam that many persons, I learn, left early. Dimng the 
period of reception the fine marine band of music played in the 
outer Hall. I must have shook hands with several thousand 
persons. Toward the close of the day some gentlemen asked me 
if my arm was not sore, and if I would not suffer from the day's 
labour. I answered them judging from my experience on similar 
occasions I thought not. I told ^em that I had foimd that there 
was great art in shaking hands, and that I could shake hands 
during the whole day without suflfering any bad effects from it. 
They were cimous to know what this art was. I told them that 
if a man siurendered his arm to be shaken, by some horizontally, 
by others perpendicularly and by others again with a strong grip, 
he could not fail to suffer severely from it, but that if he would 
shake and not be shaken, grip and not be gripped, taking care 
always to squeeze that hand of his adversary as hard as he squeezed 
him, that he suffered no inconvenience from it. I told them also 
that I could generally anticipate when I was to have a strong 
grip, and that when I observed a strong man approaching I gen- 
eraily took advantage of him by being a little quicker than he was 
and seizing him by the tip of his fingers, giving him a hearty shake, 
and thus preventing him from getting a full grip on me. They 
were much amused at my account of the operation, which I give 
(gave) to them playfully, but admitted that there was much 
philosophy in it. But though I gave my accoimt of the operation 
playfully, it is all true. About 3 o'clock the company dispersed. 
"After night I sent for the Secretary of War, and carefully 
read over and revised my message to the Ho. Repts. in answer 
to their Resolution on the subject of military contributions levied 
in Mexico, with him (see Diary of Saturday last). Some para- 
graphs which had been . suggested on Saturday by some mem- 
bers of the Cabinet, I determined, on revising them with Mr. 
Marcy, to omit. Mr. Marcy thought the message as I finally 
agreed it should be would be unanswerable. Mr. Loving, a con- 
fidential clerk, who had copied the original draft of the message, 
called tonight and corrected the copy according to the revised 
draft. I regard it as among the most important messages I have 
made to either House of Congress during my Presidential term, 
and therefore I have given to it more than ordinary attention. 

19-vol. 2 

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290 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

** Among the visitors whom I observed in the crowd to-day- 
was the Hon. Andrew Johnson of the Ho. Repts. Though he 
represents a Democratic District in Tennessee (my State)' this 
is the first time I have seen him dming the present Session of 
Congress. Professing to be a Democrat, he has been poUtically 
if not personally hostile to me during my whole term. He is very 
vindictive and perverse in his temper and conduct, ft he had the 
manliness or independence to manifest his opposition openly, he 
knows he could not be again elected by his constituents. I am 
not aware that I have ever given him cause of offense. 

** Wednesday, 17th January, 1849. — ^A number of members of 
Congress and others caUed this morning. They were on the usual 
business of seeking office for themselves and their friends. Among 
others who called was Mr. Stanton of Tennessee of the Ho. 
Repts., and I had a conversation with him on the subjects of the 
meeting of the Southern members of Congress on last Monday 
night, and on the importance of settling the slavery agitation by 
providing Governments for New Mexico and California at the 
present Session. I stated to him the plan on which I thought 
this might be done. It was the same which I had stated to Mr. 
Calhoim (see this Diary of yesterday). I told him that I was 
for preserving the Union & its harmony, & opposed to any move- 
ment, in Congress or out of it, which might tend to disturb it; 
that I thought members of Congress had better exert their energies 
to settle it in Congress, than to agitate the slavery question in 
caucus out of Congress. 

"I urged the necessity and importance of going to work in 
earnest in Congress, and not in a caucus, to settle the question. 
I told him it was time enough to think of extreme measures when 
they became inevitable, and that the period had not come. I 
told him that the people every where were devoted to the Union, 
and that it would be a heavy responsibility if Southern members 
of Congress should prevent an adjustment of the slavery question 
by meeting in caucus & publishing addresses, instead of meeting 
in Congress, where their constituents had deputed them to act. 
He seemed to be surprised at these views. I told him that I was 
a Southern man, and as much attached to the Southern rights 
as any man in Congress, but I was in favor of vindicating and 
maintaining these rights by constitutional means; and that no such 
an extreme case had arisen as would justify a resort to any other 
means; that when such a case should arise (if ever) it would be 
time enough to consider what should be done. 

"Tuesday, 13th, February, 1849. — It is four years ago this 
day since I arrived in Washington, preparatory to entering on 
my duties as President of the U. S. on the 4th of March following. 
They have been four years of incessant labour and anxiety and of 
great responsibility. I am heartily rejoiced that my term is so 
near its close. I will soon cease to be a servant and will become 
a sovereign. As a private citizen I will have no one but myself 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 291 

to serve, and will exercise a part of the sovereign power of my 
coimtry. I am sure I will be happier in this condition than in 
the exalted station I now hold. 

"SUNDAY, 18th February, 1849—1 attended the First Pres- 
byterian Church today accompanied by Mrs. Polk, and Maria Polk 
Walker, the little daughter of my Private Sea^tary, J. Knox 
Walker. Mrs. Walker and our two neices, Miss Rucker and Miss 
Hays, attended service at one of the CathoUc churches. I spent 
the day quietly in my chamber. After night, reflecting the near 
approach of the termination of my Presidential term and on the 
uncertainty of Hfe, I executed a purpose which I have some time 
contemplated, by writing and signing my last Will and Testament. 
I left a written Will with my valuable papers in Tennessee, but as 
the situation of my property has been materially changed since it 
was written, I deemed it proper to make another. There are no 
persons present to attest it as witnesses, but I will hereafter cause 
this to be done. Mrs. Polk knew nothing of my intention to 
write it. It was made chiefly for her benefit, if she should survive 
me, and I will read it to her. I took it with me from my office to 
my chamber and read it to her. It was imexpected to her and she 
expressed some siuprise, but was entirely satisfied with its provis- 

"Mr. Buchanan called in after the night and informed me that 
he had been informed at a party last evening that Mr. Stephens, 
of Georgia, and Mr. Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, had made a violent 
assault upon me in the House of Representatives the day before, 
in which the effort was made to prove that I had at one time been 
in favor of the Wilmot Proviso. Such an allegation is false, come 
from what quarter it may. 

"WEDNESDAY, 28th February, 1849— At this point of my 
administration, and imtil its close, I foimd my time so constantly 
occupied by business and the numerous calls made upon me by the 
crowd of persons who had congregated at Washington to witness 
the Inauguration of my successor, that I foimd it impossible to 
record in this Diary the daily events as they occured. After I 
reached Tennessee on this 13th of April, 1849, 1 resumed the record 
from my general recollection. The record of this day (28th of 
February) and the succeeding days of my term must necessarily 
therefore, be very general and many incidents must be omitted. 
I was busy in my office diu'ing the day (the 28th of February) saw 
many members of Congress and many strangers, and transacted 
much business. At different periods of the day most of the mem- 
bers of my Cabinet called on business. 

**This evening in pursuance of previous notice the parlours of 
the President's Mansion were thrown (open) and the last drawing 
room or levee of my administration was held. It was the most 
brilliant and crowded room of my term. The House was brilliantly 
lighted up (and) the fine Marine Band of music was stationed in 
the entrance Hall. About 8 o'clock, P. M., the company commen- 

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292 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

ced assembling. Among those who attended early m the evening, 
were many officers of the army and navy, who called in a body in 
full imiform. The foreign Ministers and their families and lega- 
tions resident at Washington, were present in their Court dresses. 
The members of my Cabinet and their families, members of Con- 
gress, citizens, and a vast number of strangers made up the large 
number of visitors. I received them in the Circular parlour, stand- 
ing with my back against the Marble center table, and Mrs. Polk 
standing a few leet to my right. The marble center table proved 
to be an important protection to me. All the parlours and outer 
halls soon became crowded with human beings, ladies and gentle- 
men, so that it became very difficult for them to make their way to 
the place where Mrs. Polk and myself stood. I remained stationary 
and shook hands with several thousand persons of both sexes. 
I learned afterwards that many persons came to the door and the 
jam was so great that they could not make their way to me, and 
retired without entering. The line of carriages approaching the 
President's House, I was afterwards informed, extended several 
htmdred yards. About twelve o'clock at night the last of the com- 
pany retired. I had remained on my feet continuously for several 
hours and was exceedingly fatigued. 

'^SUNDAY, 4th of March, 1849— Having closed my official 
term as President of the U. S. at six and one-half o'clock this 
morning, that being about the hour at which Congress adjomned, 
I attended Divine service with my family, consisting of Mrs. Polk 
and our two neices. Miss Hays and Miss Rucker, at the First 
Presbyterian church. An excellent sermon was preached by the 
Rev. Mr. Ballentine, the pastor. At the close of the service, the 
minister and the elder members of the chm-ch, male and female, 
approached and shook hands with Mrs. Polk and myself on taking 
leave of us, accompanied with many expressions of their friendship 
and affectionate regard. The scene was an interesting and grati- 
fying one. We had attended worship regularly and with few ex- 
ceptions almost every Sabbath during the term of My Presidency, 
and the congregation today seemed to reaUze that they were about 
to part with us, and that in all probability we would never worship 
with them again. The affectionate manner in which they took 
leave (of) us made the scene a very impressive one. We return to 
our lodgings at the Irving hotel and from thence I rode in my car- 
riage to the President's House to collect some letters and manu- 
scripts which I had left in my office on leaving it last evening. In 
the afternoon I rested at the Hotel, being much fatigued by the 
very severe duties of the past weeks. A few friends called in the 
evening and we saw them in our parlour. I feel exceedingly re- 
lieved that I am now free from all pubHc cares. I am sure I shall 
be a happier man in my retirement than I have been dtuing the 
four years I have filled the highest office in the gift of my country- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 293 

"About 10 o'clock at night a military company from Balti- 
more with a fine band of music appeared before my lodgings 
at the Hotel and played. I saw the officers, who informed me 
they had called to pay their respects to me. As it was Stmday 
evening I did not invite them in, but made my appearance at 
the window, and bowed to them. I informed the officers that 
I would see them on to-morrow. After 12 o'clock two other 
companies appeared and played. They had fine bands of music. 

"MONDAY, 5th March, 1849— Soon after breakfast this 
morning many of my friends called to see me and many strangers 
called to pay their respects. Among them were all the members 
of my late Cabinet and the ladies of their families. Between 1 1 
and 12 o'clock a procession of mihtary companies and citizens, 
conducted by many marshalls on horseback, moved from Willard's 
Hotel as an escort to General Taylor, the President elect of the 
U. S.« On reaching the Irving Hotel, where I had my quarters, 
the procession halted and the open carriage in whicji General 
Taylor, was seated stopped immediately opposite to the Hotel. 
In pursuance of the arrangements made by the committee of the 
Senate, I was conducted to the same carriage and seated on the 
right of General Taylor, Mr. Seaton, the Mayor of Washington, 
and Mr. Winthrop, the late Speaker of the House Representatives, 
were seated in the same carriage. The procession moved to the 
Capitol. On arriving there we were met by the committee of the 
Senate, consisting of Senators Davis of Mississippi, Johnson of 
Maryland, and Davis of Massachussetts, and were conducted to 
the Senate Chamber, where the Senate were in Session. General 
Taylor and myself walked in together and were seated, I being 
on his righ't. My late Cabinet were seated on the floor of the 
Senate. After remaining a few minutes the whole body of per- 
sons proceeded to the Eastern front of the Capitol, General 
Taylor, and myself walking out together in the same manner we 
had entered the Senate chamber. After being there a few minutes 
General Taylor read his Inaugural Address. He read it in a 
very low voice and very badly as to his prommdation and manner. 
The oath of office was administered to him by the Chief Justice 
of the Supreme Court of the U. S. As soon as this was over I 
advanced to him and shook him by the hand, saying to him, *I 
hope, Sir, the coimtry may be prosperous imder your admini- 
stration.' We were then conducted to the carriage in which we 
had come to the Capitol, and proceeded along Pennsylvania 
Avenue, Mr. Seaton and Mr. Winthrop being in the carriage 
with General, now President, Taylor and myself, towards the 
President's mansion. On arriving at my lodgings at the Irving 
Hotel the procession halted and I took leave of the President. 
He proceeded to the President's mansion. On preceeding to the 
Capitol and returning, I remained covered. General Taylor 
occasionally took oflf his hat and bowed to the people. WThen 
not making his respects to the people he was free in conversation. 

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294 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

On going up to the Capitol, California was alluded to, in con- 
versation between Mr. Seaton and Mr. Winthrop and myself. 
Something was said which drew from General Taylor the ex- 
pression of views and opinions which greatly surprised me. They 
were to the effect that California and Oregon were too distant 
to become members of the Union, and that it would be better 
for them to be Independent Gov(em)ment. He said that om* 
people would inhabit them, and repeated that it woidd be better 
for them to form an Independent Gov(em)ment for themselves. 
These are alarming opinions to be entertained by the President 
of the U. S. I made no response, nor did Mr. Seaton or Mr. 
Winthrop. I have entertained serious apprehensions, and have 
expressed them in this diary, that if no Gov(em)ment was pro- 
vided for California at the late Session of Congress, there was 
danger that that fine territory would be lost to the Union by the 
establishment of an Independent Government. General Taylor's 
opinions as expressed, I hope, have not been well considered. 
General Taylor is, I have no doubt, a well meaning old man. 
He is, however, uneducated, exceedingly igorant of public affairs, 
and I should judge, of very ordinary capacity. He will be in 
the hands of others, and must rely wholly upon his Cabinet to 
administer the Government. Upon reaching my quarters at the 
Irving Hotel, hundreds of persons called, and among others the 
miHtary company from Baltimore who called last night, came 
in and I shook hands with them, I continued to receive company 
until 10 or 11 o'clock at night, when I went with Mrs. Polk to 
the Steam-boat to take my departiu-e by the Southern route to 
my residence in Tennessee. All the members of my Cabinet 
with the females of their families called in the course of the 
afternoon. The demonstrations of kindness and respect paid to 
me on the eve of my departiu-e from Washington, were highly 
gratifying, and all that I could have desired. Mr. Buchanan, 
Mr. and Mrs. Marcey, and Mr. and Mrs. Mason accompanied 
us to the Boat, though it was a wet night, where they took leave 
of us. Mr. and Mrs. Walker came after us. Mrs. Walker took 
leave of us and retm-ned. Mr. Walker will accompany me as 
far as New Orleans. My late Private Secretary, J. Knox Walker, 
and his wife came to the boat about 12 o'clock and brought 
with them oiu* two nieces. Miss Rucker and Miss Hays, who had 
been to the Inaugiu^tion Ball. J. Klnox Walker and his wife took 
leave of us and returned. Daniel Graham and wife accompany 
us. We foimd the Boat much crowded with members of Con- 
gress and others going South. I was much fatigued, but had 
little rest. The Boat left at the usual horn*, 3 o'clock in the 
morning. I take with me Henry Bowman my late steward to 
pay bills, take care of the baggage, and etc., I take with me sQso 
my servant (Henry) and Milly, a maid servant belonging to J. 
Knox Walker. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 295 

Starting at 3 a. m. March 6th, 1849, the ex-President com- 
menced his journey to Nashville, which he reached on April 2d, 
following. The trip was a long one by boat, railroad and car- 
riage, and embraced the entire South which later organized itself 
into the Southern Confederacy; his route lay through the very 
heart of Dixie. Cholera was rageing in many places, and Mr. 
Polk was in bad health; he stood the journey only fairly well; 
it was plain that ph)rsically he was a broken man. But even 
with this serious drawbadc, his pleasiu-e must have been in- 
tense and penetrated his innermost feelings. He was now a free 
man again, and the people were giving him a glorious welcome 
and a hospitahty ridher and heartier, more spontaneous and 
more unanimous, than was ever before extended to a royal con- 
queror or to a deliverer of a people oppressed. His toil of four 
years ought to have been, and probably was, forgotten, in the 
joy of knowing that the people of the South in their heart of 
hearts held hun a benefactor and friend. His life-work was 
done, and he knew that the people knew he had done well. 
It is hard to conceive a more perfect feUcity than must have been 
the ex-President's on this homeward joiuney. He had been the 
head and ruler of the great free Republic of the west, and had 
pushed that RepubUc's western limit towards the setting sun, 
until it touched the far away waters of the Pacific; he had proved 
to all mankind that he was as great as administrator as ever 
sat at the head of the nation; and now with an acclaim that came 
straight from the heart of the people to lys innermost own, he 
was seeing and feeling and knowing the gratitude of those for 
whom he had so loyally, so patiently and so grandly toiled. Happy 
ex-President James Knox Polk! He did not then know that 
Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, the fateful daughters of Themis, 
who sits by the side of Jove on his throne, to give him counsel, 
were even then spinning the thread of his destiny, and woidd in 
just three months and ten days from the date he left the Presi- 
dential chair, clip with their shears his thread in twain, and 
render him only a memory. 

"MONDAY, 2nd April, 1849—1 was much better this morn- 
ing, but was quite feeble from the effects of medicine and my in- 
disposition. A few miles below Nashville we met a Steamer having 
on board a committee of gentlemen and a ntunber of my old ac- 
quaintances and friends. Among them was my brother-in-law, 
Dr. John B. Hays, of Columbia, who, hearing of my illness and de- 
tention at Smithland, had set out to meet me. He (his) daughter 
had spent the past winter in my family and was with me on her 
return home. On arriving in sight of the boat landing in Nashville, 
I discovered that the wharf was covered with people. I stood on 
the deck of the boat as she approached, and was enthusiastically 
cheered by the crowd on shore. As soon as the boat touched the 
shore many of my old acquaintances and friends came on board. 
After a few minutes I was conducted ashore, and in passing from 

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296 Andrew Jackson ant> Early Tennessee Histchiy 

the boat to the carriage prepared to receive me, I was met by the 
dense crowd and warmly greeted by many old acquaintances and 
friends, with whom I shook hands. I was seated in an open 
carriage with ex-Governor A. V. Brown and two other perscms, 
and conveyed up Broad and Cherry Streets, and thence to the 
pubhc square in front of the Nashville Inn, where I was addressed 
by Gov. A. V. Brown, who warmly welcomed me back to my old 
State and to my home. A very large number of people had tinned 
out on the occasion; and standing in the open carriage, though 
feeling scarcely able to do so I responded to his addr^. When 
I had done I was exceedingly feeble and exhausted. I was then 
conducted to the verandah House where quarters had been pre- 
pared for me. Here again I met and shook hands with many of 
my friends, who were in waiting at the Hotel, or called to see me. 
I was compelled very soon to retire to my room, where I remained 
during the balance of the day. A few old and intimate friends saw 
me in my room. The meeting of my old friends had produced an 
excitement which contributed to sustain me dtuing the day and 
to enable me to bear the fatigue. I rested comfortably during 
the night. 

"THURSDAY, 5th April, 1849—1 set out after breakfast this 
morning, three or four of my old friends having met me at Cart- 
wright's before I left. At the village of Spring Hill I stopped for 
half an hour, where I saw and shook hands with a number of my 
old neighbors and friends, male and female. On reaching my 
father's residence where I was a youth, which is on the roa^de 
six miles from Columbia, I stopped a few minutes to see and shake 
hands with a number of the old neighbors and their descendants, 
who had collected to see mg as I passed. Three or four miles 
before reaching Columbia, I was met by a committee of the place 
and by several hundred persons, ladies and gentlemen, in carriages 
and on horseback, who came out to meet me. I had here 3ie 
inexpressible gratification to meet my old neighbors of both poli- 
tical parties, whom I had not seen for more than four years, when 
I left to proceed to Washington to enter on my duties as President 
of the U. S. I was here placed by the (committee), in an open 
barouche and the procession moved towards the town, increasing 
in its numbers as we proceeded. On approaching the near town, 
we met a band of music and some mihtary, who wheeled and pro- 
ceeded us. I was conducted through the pubhc square of the town 
to the Branch of the State Bank, from the steps of which I was 
addressed in behalf of my old neighbors by Major General Gideon 
J. Pillow, to whom I responded from the carriage in which I was. 
Several hundred persons of both political parties were present, 
and I was greeted and received by all with a warmth and cordiality 
which could not be otherwise than highly gratifying. As soon as 
the reception was over I proceeded to my mother's house and em- 
braced her. Our meeting was most gratifying. I can perceive 
that time has made its impression on her since I saw her, though 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 297 

I was glad to find her in good health. She is now in the 73rd year 
of her age. I am the eldest of her children. I was bom on the 
2d of November, 1795, and on the 15th of the same month she was 
19 years old, so that she wants a few days of being 19 years older 
than I am. All my relations, old and young, who are residing at 
Columbia, were assembled at her house. A large number of my 
old friends followed me to her house, with all of whom I shook 
hands. They continued to call dining the remainder of the after- 
noon and evening. My journey on my return from the seat of 
Government is now over and I am again at my home, in the midst 
of the friends of my youth and of my riper years. My political 
career has been run and is now closed. Henceforth I shall be a 
private citizen. I cannot now imdertake to review the past and 
to compare my present contented and happy condition with it. 
I have been much honored by my coimtrymen and am deeply 
grateful to them. I may say that I regard the distinguished marks 
of respect everywhere shown me by the people, without distinction 
of political party, on my joiuney homeward, as the most gratifying 
and highest honor ever paid me by any portion of my fellow-citizens. 
Though fatigued and feeble, I spent a delightful evening with my 
relatives and friends. 

"TUESDAY, 24th April, 1849— After breakfast this morning, 
having made oiu* visit to Mrs. Polk*s relations, we left Murfrees- 
boro and retiuned to Nashville, where we arrived about 3 o'clock. 
We stopped at om* own house. The workmen had not finished it, 
but two or three rooms had been fitted up so that we could occupy 
them. Numerous boxes of fiuniture, books, groceries and other 
articles, forwarded from New York, New Orleans, and Columbia, 
Tenn., were piled up in the halls and rooms, and the whole estab- 
lishment, except two or three apartments, presented the appear- 
ance of great disorder and confusion. Our faithful steward, Henry 
Bowman, had in our absence to Coltunbia and Murfreesboro, 
caused the carpets to be made and put down in some of the rooms 
and caused our fiuniture to be opened. Our servants had arrived 
from Columbia and were comfortably settled in the servants* 
house. We thought it best to take possession of the house at once, 
and superintend the arrangements necessary to put it in order. 
On this day, therefore, may be dated our first occupation of our 
new home in Nashville. 

"SATURDAY, 12th May, 1849—1 was occupied as usual 
to-day. In the afternoon in walking down into the town as 
I frequently do, I called in at Macomb's cabinet shop to examine 
some furniture. His shop stands on the comer of Spring and 
Cherry Streets. As I stepped out of the shop and tiuned down 
Cherry Street walking towards the Post Oflfice, a person on horse- 
back turned the same comer going in the same direction. On 
casting my eye towards him from the pavement on which I was, 
I discovered it was Col. M. P. Gentry of the House of Repre- 
sentatives in Congress. He spoke to me and I returned the 

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298 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

salutation. He turned his horse near the pavement and shook 
hands with me, and the usual interchange of civilities took 
place. He then remarked in substance and I think very nearly 
literally as follows: 'now that you are a private citizen I will 
say what I have intended to say if a sutiable opportunity occmred, 
that whatever I may have said of you, Sir, which might seem to 
be harsh was pohtical and not personal.* To which I repHed, 
it was, I suppose, professional to which he responded, it was 
altogether so. He bid me good afternoon and rode on. Mr. 
Gentry made a bitter and abusive party speech in Congress a 
year or two ago, in which I understand he had spoken very harshly 
of me as President. It was reported to me at the time by some 
who heard it that he was drunk when he delivered it. He never 
afterwards called at the President's House, as he had before 
done; but after the lapse of some weeks his wife did call. I 
suppose he is ashamed of his speech, and hence his remarks to 
me this evening. He is a very bitter and unscrupulous Whig in 

"FRIDAY, 25th May, 1849—1 called to see my nephew, 
Samuel P. Caldwell, at the Sewannee Hotel this morning. I 
foimd him in bed, and though not very ill, I insisted on him to 
return to my house and remain there until he was entirely well. 
In the afternoon I sent a servant with a carriage and brought 
him to my house. I met Edwin Ewing, Esqr., on the street 
this morning. He is one of the attos. of John M. Bass in my suit 
with him pending in Supreme Court, now in Session, relative to 
the title to the 50 feet avenue in front of my house. Mr. Ewing 
introduced the subject by inquiring if Mr. Bass and myself could 
not settle the matter by a compromise. I told him I was en- 
tirely willing to do so, and with that view had held several con- 
ferences wiiSi Mr. Bass. Mr. Ewing expressed the opinion that 
we could settle the dispute, and at his suggestion I agreed to 
meet Mr. Bass and himself at the law oflfice of Messrs. Nicholson 
and Houston at 3 o'clock p. m. to-day. I attended accordingly 
and found Mr. Bass there. Neither Mr. Ewing nor either of 
my attoren5rs were present. Mr. Bass and m)rself after a long 
conference agreed upon the terms of a compromise as contained 
in a paper drawn up by Mr. Nicholson, with certain modifications 
in its phraseology and terms, upon which we agreed: with the 
exception of a paragraph which Mr. Bass wished inserted, the 
object of which was to save his personal honor against the im- 
putation of fraud or imfaimess on his part, in the representation 
at the time of the sale of the Gnmdy property to my agent. 
Gov. A. V. Brown. Gov. Brown and Judge Catron, whose testi- 
mony had been taken in the case, differed from Mr. Bass in their 
imderstanding of the property sold. They both imderstood that 
the avenue of 50 feet was piu-chased, as much as the house and 
other grounds. Mr. Bass insisted that he intended to sell the 
right of way only in the Avenue, and not the fee simple title. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 299 

and this was the point of difference. I understood that I was 
buying the avenue as a part of the property: otherwise I would 
not have authorized Gov. Brown to maice the piu-chase for me. 
The terms of comprise agreed upon were, in substance, that the 
fee-simple title should be conveyed to me, and that Mr. Bass 
and other adjoining property holders should enjoy the right of 
passage or of way through the same. The only point still open 
was the personal paragraph which Mr. Bass wished inserted. 
I objected to it in the form in which he had drawn it, because 
it left an impUed imputation injtuious to Gov. Brown and Judge 
Catron, I told him that the personal honour of these gentlemen 
as his own must be guarded and protected in any paragraph of 
the sort which was inserted; and with this view I proposed that 
his attos. and mine should draw such a paragraph. Towards the 
dose of the interview Mr. West H. Humphreys, one of my attos., 
came in. Mr. Bass agreed to this suggestion and the paper was 
handed to Mr. Humphre)rs, and we agreed to meet again at 8 
o'clock tomorrow morning. A few more cases of cholera occurred 

"vSATURDAY, 26th May, 1849—1 met Mr. Bass at the law 
offices of Messrs. Nicholson and Houston at 8 o'clock this morning, 
according to appointment (see the Diary of yesterday). The 
paragraph deferred on yesterday had not been drawn up. Mr. 
Bass proposed other modifications of the paper containing the 
terms of the compromise upon which we had agreed on yesterday. 
I became impatient, and remarked that we had agreed upon 
the terms on yesterday, that I was ready on my part to 
abide by them; that if Mr. Bass was, the matter would be settled, 
but if he was not the case must be decided by the Court. The 
lawyers on both sides proposed that we should meet again at 
12 o'clock. We did so, and the lawyers having agreed upon 
the personal paragraph desired, saving alike the personal honour 
of all concerned, the compromise was signed by Mr. Bass and 
Mr. Jacob McGavock as executors of Felix Grundy, and by 
myself, and so the matter was settled. The Supreme Court 
entered a decree in the afternoon comformably to the compromise, 
and a Deed was executed to me by the Clerk and Master. . 

"SATURDAY, 2nd June, 1849— Immediately after breakfast 
this morning Mrs. Polk and myself took a ride in om- carriage, 
and paid a visit to Mr. Daniel Graham and hi^ family residing 
eight miles in the coimtry. After oiu* return, I remained the 
balance of the day at my house and was engaged in private busi- 
ness, devoting a part of my time to arranging my library of books 
in presses which I had caused to be made to hold them. 

This was the last entry in the Diary; the President died June 
15, 1849. 

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300 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 


James Knox Polk — ^Eleven Letters Connected with 
Nomination and Election for President — 
Speech at Nashville on his Election — 
Letter to Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey 
Declaring he Will not be a Can- 
didate for Re-election. 


**Coliunbia, Tennessee, Oct. 19th, 1843. 

**Since I saw you I have received another letter from Gov. Yell, 
of Arkansas, under date of 5th Oct., '43, in which among other 
things, he says: 'Heretofore I was candid in expressing that I 
thought Col. Johnson the favorite in this State for the Presidency. 
I now doubt it, and if we have a full and fair convention (State 
Convention) I shall not be surprised if there was to be a majority 
for Mr. Van Buren and yourself for Vice-President. I am sure 
you are the strongest man in this State that coidd be selected and 
from that fact I am inclined to beheve that yoiu* friends know to 
whom you should be connected, and besides, Mr. Van Buren has 
now and always had numerous friends. I am sure they cannot 
get up a delegation who would prefer any one over you for the Vice- 

"Have you written the letters of which we spoke when I last 
saw you? It is most important, I think, that they should be 
written without delay. Our friends at the North and East should 
imderstand the true state of things in this part of the Union, and 
take bolder groimd before the pubUc in reference to the Vice-Pres- 
idency. By doing so they would concentrate public opinion in 
reference to both stations before the meeting of the convention, 
and thereby avoid much confusion and trouble. I do not under- 
stand Blair's course. I wrote Gen. Armstrong a letter on yesterday 
in reference to it, which he will show you. I do not think he is in- 
clined to do me justice. Why, I know not, unless it be that he has 
strong attachments for Col. Johnson, and looks to his restoration 
with Mr. Van Biu-en. But Gen. Armstrong will show you my 
letter in which you will see the impression I have and the sugges- 
tions I make. I have only one other remark to make to you, and 
that is, that no one now is prominently presented for the Vice- 
Presidency, and that is the opinion of Gov. Yell,*T. P. Moore and 

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1 . 


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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 301 

others of my friends that the ground should be preoccupied be- 
fore Col. J. concludes to fall back upon it, as I think he will ulti- 
mately attempt to do. I will leave for my plantation in Mississippi 
on Monday next and concluded to write you promptly and without 
reserve what my views and impressions were. You will, of course, 
regard what I have said as strictly confidential. A letter addressed 
to me at Sommerville, Tennessee, any time within ten days or two 
weeks, will meet m on my way up. 

*'P S. — I will be back before the meeting of the State Conven- 
tion, and will be governed by the advice of my friends whether I 
will be at Nashville at that time or not. I must insist upon you to 
see Laughlin and Humphreys and have a proper address prepared 
before the convention meets." 


"Columbia, Tennessee, March 21, 1844. 

**This letter is intended for Brown as well as yourself. In a 
hasty note addressed to you jointly last night, I informed you that 
I had answered Mr. Fisk's letter declining to accept. Without any 
one here with whom to counsel, I concluded that it was better to 
decide promptly and for myself, than to keep the question open by 
referring it to Brown and yourself, as both of you suggested in 
your letters I might do. I took this course because I had really 
no wish to fill the place, and because my acceptance might have 
left the impression on the minds of some that I was among the 
discontents of the party, and towards Mr. Van Buren especially, 
who might possibly have been thereby weakened. 1 did not in- 
tend that by any act of mine, my motives or position should be 
questioned. My acceptance too would probably have been re- 
garded as a retreat from anticipated defeat before the Baltimore 
Convention. By declining, my true position in the party and be- 
fore the country will be preserved. By remaining at home, I may 
continue to render some service to our cause, and shall at all events 
be freed from all supposed participation in the political schemings 
and intrigues at Washington, for which I profess to have neither 
taste nor talents. I had reason to beUeve, too, that the influence 
of Tyler and his administration, as far as they may have any, would 
continue to be hostile to Mr. Van Buren, and I should have been 
placed in a false position, to have been compelled to hold confiden- 
tial relations with him and his advisers. True, I was informed 
that in the event of my acceptance, no pledges as to men or meas- 
ures were required, but that I should be free and imtrammelled, 
to act as my OM(n judgment might indicate as proper. My answer 
to Mr. Fiske was of coiu-se a civil one, but was at the same time 
decisive as to my declination of the proffered honor. I had the 
utmost confidence in the judgment of yourself and Brown, and of 
Mr. Wright, of New York, whom one of you informed me you 
would consult, in the event my decision was left open and referred 

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302 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

to you. I could not, however, foresee any possible state of things 
that could arise at Washington, whidi could change my opinion, 
and therefore I preferred to act myself, rather than to delay action 
and cast the responsibility upon you. Mr. Calhoun's appoint- 
ment is well received here. If he accepts, I think it probable that 
he will see that it is his interest to co-operate thoroughly with the 
Democratic Party, so heartily for Mr. Van Viu*en, harmonize his 
friends at the South, and msJce a great effort upon the Texas and 
Oregon questions, to place himself, if not at the head, in a very 
prominent position in the party. Placed as he is, this would un- 
doubtedly be the sensible course. It is hard to tell, however, how 
far his feelings may control his judgment. 

**The Union of today you will see has a strong article against 
the course of the discontented in our ranks, who continue to make 
efforts to produce division by still talking about General Cass. 
Laughlin will follow it up by articles of a like character, and you 
may have no apprehension that any scisme (schism) can be produced 
in the party in this State. There are a few who would desire it, 
but their numbers are too small to enable them to effect it. 

'*I see Col. J. (Johnson) has been nominated in Pennsylvania. 
Without speaking in reference to myself personally, you and all 
others in this State know, that if the same nomination be made 
at Baltimore, our defeat in this State is inevitable, and the success 
of the party in the Union is put in imminent jeopardy. Let me 
hear from you on receipt of this." 


"Columbia, Tennessee, May 4, 1844. 


"Clay's anti-Texas letter reached Nashville last night. If 
Van Buren will now take ground for annexation, as I hope and 
believe he will, and the convention shall make a proper nomina- 
tion for the Vice, the Democracy will certainly and beyond all doubt 
be again in the ascendency in this State, as I have no doubt it 
will be in all the Southern and Southwestern States, unless it 
be Kentucky, and even there the contest will be doubtful. I 
have not in my letters disguised from you the fact that I fed 
an interest (I hope a proper one) in the result of the deliberations 
at Baltimore. I hope you will write to me often after you get 
this letter, giving me all the movements, developments and pros- 
pects as you may learn them. One thing I repeat in conclusion 
and that is, that my name will in no event be voluntarily with- 
drawn, but I desire to go before the convention, whatever the 
result may be. It is better for me that this should be so, though 
it was certain that I would be defeated. My interests are com- 
mitted to my friends, and mainly to yom-self. I hope you may 
be able by a proper appeal to General Anderson of Knoxville, 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 303 

if he attends as a delegate, to prevent him from doing mischief. 
Farquharson of Lincohi who was the only other of our Delegates 
who was impracticable, will not go on, as I learn. Your credentials 
as the Delegate for the State at large in Coe*s place were made 
out, and Cheatham told me they would have been sent on, but 
he had been waiting for Brown to pass on, by whom he had 
intended to send them. They will be forwarded by mail. 


"Nashville, Tennessee, 

Monday night, May 13, 1844. 
''Strictly Confidential. 

"At the urgent soHcitation of Major Donaldson, General Arm- 
strong, and one or two other friends who wrote me, I came to 
this place on yesterday. Today General A. (Armstrong) and my- 
self visited the Hermitage. On our way up we met Donaldson 
with a letter from General J. (Jackson) for publication in the 
Union, reiterating and reaffirming his views upon the subject of 
the annexation of Texas. He lu^ges immediate annexation as 
not only important but indispensable. He speaks most affection- 
ately of Mr. Van Buren, but is compelled to separate from him 
upon this great question, and says both he and Mr. Benton have 
by their letters cut their own throats poHtkally. He has no 
idea that Mr. V. B. (Van Buren) can be nominated, or if nomi- 
nated that he can receive any Southern support. He is not 
excited but is cool and collected, and speaks in terms of deep 
regret at the fatal error which Mr. V. B. (Van Buren) has com- 
mitted. He says however that it is done and that the convention 
must select some other as the candidate. The truth is and should 
no longer be disguised from yourself and other friends, that it 
will be utterly hopeless to carry the vote of this State for any 
man who is opposed to immediate annexation. The body of the 
Whigs will support Clay, regardless of his opinions, but himdreds, 
indeed thousands of them will abandon him, and vote for any 
annexation man who may be nominated by the Baltimore Con- 
vention. If such a man shall be nominated we shall carry the 
State with triiunph and with ease. If an anti-annexation man 
is nominated, thousands of Democrats and among them many 
leading men, will not vote at all, and Clay will carry the State. 
The Texas question is the all-absorbing one here and swallows 
up all others at present. It is impossible to arrest the current 
of the popular opinion and any man who attempts it will be 
crushed by it. What you can or will do at Baltimore God only 
knows. My earnest desire is that you shall harmonize and run 
only one man. General J. (Jackson) thinks that Mr. V. B. (Van 
Buren) becoming sensible that his opinions are not in harmony 
with those of the people, will withdraw and hopes he will do so. 
For myself, I attribute Mr. V. B's. (Van Biu-en's) course to Col. 

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304 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbe History 

B — ^ton. (Benton) General J. (Jackson) sa)rs the candidate for- 
the first office should be an annexation man, and from the South- 
west, and he and other friends here urge that my friends should 
insist upon that point. I tell them and it is true, that I have 
never aspired so high, and that in all probabiUty the attempt to 
place me in the first position would be utterly abortive. In the 
confusion which will prevail and I fear distract your cotmsels 
at Baltimore — there is no telling what may occur. I aspire to 
the 2nd office, and should be gratified to receive the nomination, 
and think it probable that my friends may be able to confer it 
upon me. I am, however, in their hands and they can use my 
name in any way they think proper. General Pillow and Col. 
Laughlin left here last night. Wm. G. Childress leaves tonight 
and Major Donaldson on tomorrow night. They can give you 
more in detail the state of things here. I repeat that I wish 
my friends to place my name before the convention, no matter 
what the result may be. 

**I deplore the distraction which exists in the party. It has 
all been produced by at most half a dozen leaders, who have acted 
with a view to their own advancement. Add to this the Texas 
question and I have great solicitude for our safety as a party. 
Surely there is patriotism enough among these leaders yet to 
save the party. This can only be done by imiting upon one 
candidate, and he must be favorable to the annexation of Texas. 
I have stood by Mr. V. B. (Van Bm-en) and will stand by him 
as long as there is hope, but I now despair of his election, even 
if he be nominated. 

**The idea which has been suggested of nmning three candi- 
dates, Mr. Clay, the Whig, a Texas annexation Democrat in 
the South, and the anti-Texas annexation Democrat in the North, 
ought not to be entertained for a moment. If that is attempted 
it insm-es Clay's election. We would have triple tickets in al- 
most all the States, which would enable a plurality, less than a 
majority, to give the electoral vote of the State to Clay. I shall 
expect you to write to me daily after the receipt of this until the 
Convention is over. 

**P. S. I learn that General Jackson's letter will not appear 
in the Union tomorrow, the paper having no space for it. It 
will appear in Thursday's paper unless he changes his mind 
about its publication and withdraws it, which is not probable. 
W. G. Childress can give you its contents in detail." 


"Nashville, Tennessee, May 14, 1844. 
** Confidential. 

"I wrote to you last night. I learn that Donaldson took the 
letter back to General J. (Jackson) for further consultation. He 
will be down again today and will take the stage for Washington 
tomorrow morning. My opinion is that the General thinks his 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 305 

reputation requires its publication at this time. If I am right 
in this, it will appear in the next Union. He is as kind to Mr. 
V. B. (Van Bm-en) as to his manner of expressing himself as he 
can be, to differ with him so widely as he does on the Texas 
question. If the letter appears, it will reach Washington on the 
Thursday evening before the meeting of the Convention. It will 
require care on the part of my friends to prevent Mr. V. B.'s 
(Van Buren's) friends from becoming excited at the letter and 
withdrawing from my support in the Convention. General J. 
(Jackson) says that Mr. V. B. (Van Buren) had his views before 
him when he wrote his letter. He says he has been misled and 
ruined unless he can find some plausible ground to modify his 
opinions. Even then the public mind has taken such a direction 
that it would be almost impossible to rally the Democracy for 
him. Judging at this distance, a^d from the additional lights 
given by yom* letter of the 5th which I received here after I had 
mailed my letter to you last night, the opinion of Armstrong and 
other friends is that I may receive the nomination, and that I 
will do so unless Mr. V. B.'s (Van Buren's) friends should aban- 
don me. General J. Qackson) has written a private letter to 
Mr. V. B. (Van Buren) and also to Blair in which he has spoken 
frankly and plainly. He is of opinion that Mr. V. B. (Van Buren) 
seeing the impossibility of his election, even if nominated, will 
and ought to withdraw. He has great confidence in his patriotism 
and thinks he will do so. He regards this step of Mr. V. B. (Van 
Buren) (his opinion on Texas) as the only great and vital error 
he has committed since he has known him. He thinks this 
single error, however, must be fatal to him. He thinks the 
candidate for the Presidency should be an annexation man and 
reside in the Southwest, and he openly expresses (what I assure 
you I had never for a moment contemplated) the opinion that I 
would be the most available man; taking the Vice-Presidential 
candidate from the North. This I do not expect to be effected. 
Nothing could effect it but the. state of confusion which exists 
in the party. The much greater probability is that a new man 
for President, if one be taken up, will hail from the North, and 
in that event I would stand in a favorable position for the nomi- 
nation for the second oflfice. Should Mr. V. B. (Van Buren) 
be withdrawn, his friends will probably hold the balance of power 
and will be able to control the nominations for both oflfices, and 
therefore the great importance of conciliating them. It will 
never do for the Convention to break up in confusion, or without 
a nomination. Any and every sacrifice should be made to effect 
a nomination in harmony. This done and we are safe. It will 
never do to break up in confusion and thus force the party upon 
Tyler. This the Democracy can never do. In a word nothing 
can prevent Clay's election but a reunion of om* party, and a 
harmonious support of the nominations to be made at Baltimore. 
I have but little hope that union or harmony can be restored 

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306 Andrew Jackson and Earlv Tennbssbb History 

among the members of Congress, but I have hope that the Dele- 
gates 'fresh from the people/ who are not members of Congress, 
and have not been so much excited, can be brought together. 
Let a strong appeal be made to the Delegates, as fast as they come 
in, to take the matter into their own hands, to control and override 
their leaders at Washington, who have already produced such dis- 
traction, and thus save the party. The Delegates from a distance 
can alone do this. I suggest as a practical plan to bring them 
to act, to get one Delegate from each State, who may be in at- 
tendance to meet in a room at Brown's Hotel, or somewhere 
else, and consult together to see if they cannot hit upon a plan 
to save the party. If you will quietly and without annoimcing 
to the public what you are at, undertake this with energy and 
prosecute it with vigor, the plan is feasible, and I think will 
succeed. If the preliminary meeting of a Delegate from each 
State can agree upon the man, then let each one see the other 
Delegates from his own State, and report at an adjourned meet- 
ing the result. This is the only way to seciu'e efficient action 
when the Convention meets. In this way let the few men at 
Washington who would break us up, be controlled. Something 
of the kind must be done to save us. I make these suggestions 
because I deem them important. Someone must take the lead, 
and no one can do it with more prospect of success than yourself. 
Show this to General Pillow confidentially who will be a most 
efficient man in carrying out such a plan. My old friend, William- 
son Smith of Miss, is a delegate and will do any and everything 
he can. So will Turner of Alabama. In setting on foot such a 
movement, of com-se you should keep your own counsels, for if 
known to all there would be troublesome spirits who would set 
to work to defeat it. I am on the eve of starting home, and have 
written in great haste." 


'^Columbia, Tennessee, May 17 (14), 1844. 

''Highly Confidential. 

"All that I have said in the enclosed letter is strictly true and 
expresses the opinions which I honestly entertain. I have, how- 
ever, omitted to embrace in it some things which I design for 
your own eye alone. I thought it possible that you might think 
it useful to om* cause or to myself individually, to show the en- 
closed (confidentially of coiu*se if you do so at all) to Silas Wright, 
and in that event I desire not to embrace in it what I am now 
about to say. It is this and is for yom-self alone. Mr. Wright's 
declaration to you, in the conversation which you detail in your 
letter of the 8th that I was 'the only man he thought the North- 
em Democrats would support if Van Buren was set aside, be- 
cause I was known to be firm and true to the cause*, is precisely 
the opinion which General J. (Jackson) expressed to me when I 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 307 

saw him two days ago. The General had previously expressed 
the same things to others. He thinks the man should come from 
the Southwest. You know that I have never aspired to any- 
thing beyond the second oflSce, and that I have desired. Until 
recently I have regarded the nomination of Mr. V. B. (Van Buren) 
as certain and the contest for the Vice-Presidency to be between 
Col. J. ( ) and myself. The recent explosion at 

Washington, and the incurable spUt in the party there and else- 
where, puts a new face on things. 'Fortima is in a frolic,' 
occasionally and in the midst of the confusion which prevails, 
there is no telling what may happen. In view of Mr. V. B.'s 
(Van Buren's) withdrawal by his friends, which is not only possible, 
but I think probable, his friends would imdoubtedly hold in their 
hands the controlling power in the selection of the candidate, and 
therefore it will be very important to consolidate them before the 
event occurs. Among the Texas annexation delegates opposed to 
him I will imdoubtedly have many friends, and if they and the 
friends of Mr. V. B. (Van Buren) can unite, the whole object 
will be effected. It will require judgment and delicacy in manag- 
ing the matter. If, however it shall be first settled that V. B. 
(Van Buren) is to be withdrawn, I see no reason why my friends 
should not make the effort. If the feeling of the Northern 
Democrats continues to be such as Mr. Wright expresses it to 
be, in the conversation with you, they would probably yield to a 
compromise, if my friends in the South and Southwest would 
propose it as a compromise. These speculations, arising out of 
the unexpected events of the last few days, may turn out to be 
very ridiculous. If so, they are committed to yoiu-self alone. 
If a new man is to be selected, my friends at Nashville think that 
my position and relations to tJie party give me more prominence 
than any other. You will be on the spot and will be best able 
to judge. Whatever is desired to be done, communicate to Gen. 
Pillow. He is one of the shrewdest men you ever knew, and can 
execute whatever is resolved on with as much success as any man 
who will be at Baltimore. Lead him therefore into all your views. 
He is perfectly reliable, is a warm friend of V. B.'s (Van Buren's) 
and is my friend, and you can do so with entire safety. 

* 'After all, however, I think it probable that my chief hope will 
be for the second oflSce, and if so, I wish my name to go before the 
Convention at all events. I have made up my mind ^at it would 
be better for me to be defeated by a vote, than to be withdrawn. 
Whatever is done will undoubtedly be settled upon at Washington 
before you assemble at Baltimore, and everything will depend upon 
the vigilance of my friends and their prudence in conciliating the 
Delegates who may be there (assembled). I calculate that this 
letter will reach you on the Friday before the meeting at Baltimore. 
If any new suggestion comes to me I will write to you by tomorrow's 
mail. I hope you will not fail to be a Delegate at Baltimore your- 

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308 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

**Our friend, A. V. Brown, cannot be back in time. The rumor 
here today is that his wife is dead. I think it probably true. Two 
days ago she was extremely ill, and her recovery had been despaired 
of by her physicians and friends. 

**F. S. — I conclude to send the letter which purports to be 
enclosed in this, imder a separate envelope, so that this will be 
seen by no one but yourself. 

N. B. — If you think it best not to show the letter confidentially 
to Mr. Wright, retain it and do not do so. You will be the judge." 


* 'Columbia, Tennessee, Jime 8, 1844. 

**Your letter of the 29th ultimo, with others of the same date, 
conveyed to me the first reliable intelligence of my nomination 
at Baltimore. Rimiors to the same effect had readied (me) the 
day before, but they were not of a kind to make it certain. The 
effect here and as far as I have heard has been to inspire a new 
spirit in our party. Many instances are reported of Whigs who 
say they will now act with us. I am under many personal obliga- 
tions to my friends, and to yourself especially, for the agency which 
I know you had in bringing about the result. 

**I have as yet received no official annoimcement of my nomi- 
nation by the committee of the Convention, and cannot of course 
answer imtil I do. By a letter from Philadelphia, I learn that Mr. 
Dallas has been notified of his nomination for the Vice-Presidency 
and has accepted. In the Globe of the 30th ult., I see it stated 
that *Mr. Hubbard, of New Hampshire, Chairman of the Com- 
mittee to inform Messrs. Polk and Wright of their nomination, 
stated that they had forwarded communications to both these 
gentlemen.' If any was forwarded to me, it has not come to hand. 

"I shall desire to see you as soon after your retiun as possible. 
In the new position which has been assigned me, there are several 
weighty matters about which I wish to consult you. Our people 
here have resolved to have a great public dinner at this place on 
the 29th instant, to which you will of course be invited. If you get 
home in time, you must not fail to attend. In the meantime, you 
will greatly oblige me by giving me any suggestions before you 
leave Washington, which you may think will be useful. I may 
expect to be interrogated upon all the great questions of the day, 
and at the same time I shall answer frankly and independently. I 
shall desire to do so prudently. I am already advised that I will 
probably be called on soon upon the subject of the tariff. I see in 
the Intelligencer of the 1st, which came today, a correspondence 
on that subject and in reference to my opinions between Mr. James 
Irvin of the House, and Mr. John J. Hardin, of Illinois. Whether 
the latter be a member or not I do not know. His article was 
manifestly written by Milton Brown and signed by Hardin. It is 
a repetition of my controversy with Brown at Jackson in the spring 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 309 

of 1843, about which no one else but Mr. Brown had any informa- 
tion. This Mr. Hardin had merely lent his name to Brown and 
been used by him. Brown and the trick should be exposed. It 
contains a garbled and anything but a fair accoimt of my views. 
**If you have time before you leave, cause Brown to be exposed 
in the Globe. Write me on receipt of this. 


"Columbia, Tennessee, Jime 21, 1844. 

**I received on yesterday your letter of the 21st from Louisville. 
I wrote to General Jackson today, putting him on his guard against 
any attempt which may be made to get up a sectionaJ or Southern 
convention. No coimtenance must be given to any attempt should 
it be made. 

**A great mass-meeting has been appointed for the 24th July, 
at Nashville. I think the time too short to enable our distant 
public men to attend. I have written to Gen. Armstrong to call 
the State Committee together immediately to consider of the pro- 
priety of postponing the day until about the middle of August. I 
should think that it should be so postponed and that invitations 
should be sent to every Democratic member of Congress and other 
leading citizens from the North, the South, the East and the West, 
to attend. Call upon the whole Democracy to attend the great 
mass-meeting and thousands would seize the occasion to make a 
pilgrimage to the Hermitage. The meeting would be what it 
ought to be, an immense assemblage. The moral and poUtical 
effect, too, of bringing together the great men of the nation, would 
be. incalculable. If such a thing is resolved on, the State Com- 
mittee should make an appeal to the whole Democracy, beginning 
with Maine, then the granite State, and ending with Louisiana, 
calling upon all to come up to the great gathering in the vicinity 
of the Hermitage. What do you think of these suggestions? 

**I wrote you to Washington, in time, as I thought, to reach 
yon before the adjournment. 

"In my letter of acceptance which was addressed as requested 
to Robert Rantoul, Jr., Esq., of Boston, I took occasion to express 
my determination in the event of my election, to retire at the end 
of four years. I said nothing to commit the party upon the one 
term principle, but expressed simply my own determination. 

"I have received many letters, and especially from Pennsyl- 
vania on the subject of the tariff, and some of them pressing me 
for a redeclaration of my opinions. I have addressed a letter upon 
that subject to Hon. John K. Kane, of Philadelphia, with a re- 
quest that he would show it to Mr. Dallas and Mr. Horn, and if, 
in their judgment, it was absolutely necessary, they were at liberty 
to publish it, but not otherwise. It is but a redeclaration of the 
opinions upon which I have acted on that subject; it was carefully 
prepared and upon its doctrines I am ready to stand. It is very 

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310 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 

short. In the course of a few days I will know whether they deem 
it necessary to publish it or not. 

"I desire very much to see you, and must do so as soon as I can. 
We will have a mass-meeting at this place on the 13th July (a 
dinner given to the Delegates to Baltimore, electors and members 
of Congress) at which you must not fail to attend. On next Sat- 
urday, the 29th, Tumey and Bell have a meeting here. When 
can I meet you at Nashville? If you will name a day I will write 
you whether I can be there. 

"My letters from all parts of the Union continue to give the 
most flattering prospects. The tmion of oiu- party seems to be 
perfect, and the greatest enthusiasm is everywhere prevailing. My 
correspondence is immense. I am overwhelmed with letters. I 
endeavor to give very short answers to most of them. 

*T. S. — I wish you to send to Gen. Armstrong, at Nashville, 
immediately a Congressional Directory of the present Congress, 
if you have (one), with a mark of note designating who are Whigs 
and who are Democrats. The object is to enable the Committee 
to send invitations to the Democratic members." 


"Columbia, Tennessee, July 1, 1844. 

*I received yoiu* letter of the 28th today. All your suggestions 
are sound and accord with my own opinions. I write now to say 
that it is important that you should be here on the 13th instant, 
at the dinner to be given to the Delegates, Electors, and Members 
of Congress. Coe has been written to, and I have no doubt will 
come. Our friends desire to make it the occasion of holding a 
consultation and laying down the plan of the campaign in the 
State, and of coming to an imderstanding of the part each is to act. 
There is another reason why you should come and bring as many 
as possible with you. It is Uiis. The Whigs are making extensive 
preparations to have a grand rally here (at my door) with a view to 
effect abroad. Otu* friends desire very much that ours shall be a 
great meeting, otherwise the Whigs will give it out that it was a 
failure and that there is no enthusiasm at home. There is still 
another reason why you should not fail to come. You have been 
several times invited here, and have never attended. Om* whole 
democracy are exceedingly desirous to see you. You must come 
to my house the night before the meeting. It will be impossible 
for me to meet you in Nashville or the Hermitage at the time you 
suggest. I have said to oiu- friends that they could make it pubUc 
that you would certainly be here. I suggest that you answer their 
letter immediately, that it may be published some days in advance 
of the dinner." 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 311 
polk to cave johnson, clarksvillb, tennessee. 

"Columbia, Tennessee, October 30, 1844. 
* 'Confidential. 

"In the present aspect of probable results in the several States, 
it has become vastly important that we should carry Tennessee. 
If possibly we should lose New York, the vote of Tennessee may, 
and probably will decide the contest, in the Union. My friends 
in New York write to me up to the 16th inst. expressing great con- 
fidence that they will carry that State, but they may te mistaken. 
A powerful eflfort is now making to induce the Natives and 
Abolitionists to imite with the Whig party proper. If this move- 
ment is successful, and a complete imion of these factions with the 
Whigs shall be effected, the contest in New York will be dose and 
the result doubtful. I think the following States may be put down 
as sure for the Democracy, to wit: Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsyl- 
vania, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, 
Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. 
These States give 134 electoral votes, and if we carry little Dela- 
ware, (for which otu* chances are best) we will have 137 electoral 
votes, or within one vote of enough to make our election, it re- 
quiring 138 electoral votes to make choice by the Colleges. 

"Our opponents must carry all of the five closely contested 
States of Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina and 
Ohio, and also both New York and Tennessee, to enable them to 
succeed. If they lose any one of them, they will be defeated. 
They think they will carry the five first named States. Of New 
York and Tennessee they have more doubt. 

**How vastly important therefore is it, that we shall carry Tenn- 
essee. We can and we must save her, but to do it will require our 
whole energy, and the unceasing labor of every man whether he be 
a debater or not, every hoiu* until the election is over. My infor- 
mation satisfies me the State is now safe, but by a close vote, and 
if we lose her, it will be by the superior vigilance of otu* oppon- 
ents, or by fraudulent and illegal voting. There is great danger 
of double voting and of imported Whig votes from Kentucky. 
Two or more active men should be appointed to watch every poll 
and challenge suspected persons who offer to vote. Let every man 
who offers to vote out of the civil District in which he resides, be 
sworn that he has not voted at any other place and that he will not 
offer to vote an any other place in that election. This is very im- 
portant and especially in the border and strong Whig Coimties. 
For the few remaining days before the election, I hope that otu* 
leading friends at Clarksville will mount their horses and ride 
through Robertson and Montgomery and have these suggestions 
carried out. Let om* friends ride on Satiu-day and Monday 

through every ( ) District, see every Democratic voter, 

and lu-ge him to attend the polls. Let no Democrat, not one, re- 
main at home on the day of the election. I make these suggestions 

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312 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

to you because I am deeply impressed with their importance and 
because if they are observed throughout the State, we must, I 
think, carry the State by a handsome majority. 

"P. S. — ^After writing this letter, it occurred to me that you 
might be absent at the Gallatin meeting on Friday, and therefore 
I address it jointly to yourself and Mr. Garland." 


* 'Columbia, Tennessee, 

December 21, 1844. 
"Private and Confidential. 

**I have received your several letters of the 1st, 6th and 12th 
inst., for which I thank you. I should have written you more 
frequently but that every moment of my spare time has been 
occupied by company or other indispensable engagements, and 
even now I seize a moment to write you very hastily. I will 
leave here between the 1st and 10th of February, it being my 
intention to reach Washington about the 20th. I prefer to stop 
at Coleman's (formerly Gadsby's) to any other place. On yester- 
day I wrote to Brown and Judge Catron to engage apartments 
at Coleman's for me, provided they could make a bargain in 
advance that I might know precisely what I had to pay. You 
know I have no money to spend imnecessarily, and to avoid 
being suspected of an extravagant or enormous charge, it is 
necessary that a distinct bargain shall be made in advance. A 
gentleman called on me on yesterday who left Washington ten 
days ago. He informed him (me ?) that Coleman showed him rooms 
which he had reserved for me; that he asked him what he charged 
for them, and that Coleman replied 'just what I pleased.' Now, 
I shall not take them upon such terms. I must know beforehand 
distinctly what his terms are. I greatly prefer to go to Coleman's 
and will do so, if his charges are not exorbitant and beyond all 
reason. Will you see Brown and tell him so. As to the route 
which I will travel I take the same view that you do. I shall 
take a boat at Nashville and travel the usual route by the River 
to Wheeling, and then direct to Washington. I have already 
decHned numerous invitations to depart from the main route and 
visit various places. I shall travel with as little ostentation or 
parade as possible, stopping only a few hours as I shall be com- 
pelled to do, at the principal towns on the route. Such an idea as 
visiting Phila. and New York never entered my mind. 

**A11 the speculations at Washington and in the newspapers 
about my Cabinet you may rely upon it are mere speculations. 
I would write you freely upon this subject, but for the danger 
that my letter might possibly fall into other hands before it 
reached you, and because I expect to see you in full time (20th 
Feby.) to confer freely and unreservedly with you. In the mean- 
time I will thank you to keep me advised of all the speculations. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 313 

opinions, and wishes which you may have on the subject. One 
thing I can say to you, and that is, that I am under no pledges 
or commitments to any of the cliques (if such exist) mentioned 
by the newspapers. My object voll be to do my duty to the 
coimtry, and I do not intend if I can avoid it, that my counsels 
shall be distracted by the supposed or not conflicting intents of 
those cliques. Another thing I will say, that I will if I can have 
a tmited and harmonious set of cabinet counsellors, who will have 
the existing administration and the good of the coimtry more at 
heart than the question who shall succeed me, and that in any 
event I intend to be myself President of the U. S. I shall rely much 
on you for the information which you may give me, which I hope 
may be free and unreserved. As to the press which may be re- 
garded as the Government organ, one thing is settled in my mind. 
It must have no connection with, nor be under the influence or 
control of any cHque or portion of the party which is making 
war upon any other portion of the party, with a view to the 
succession, and not with a view to the success of my adminis- 
tration. I think the view you take of it proper and of the pro- 
posed arrangement the best that can be made. I hope it may 
be effected. 

**P. S. May I ask you to see Brown and Judge Catron, and 
if necessary confer vnth them about engaging apartments at 
Coleman's. I prefer that to any other house, if the terms are 
at all reasonable.*' 


On November 28 the result of the election was known and Mr. 
Polk visited Nashville, where the Democrats gave him a pubHc 
reception, and a civic and miHtary procession escorted him to the 
public square to hear a speech from him. Hon. A. O. P. Nichol- 
son, on behalf of the audience, made a very complimentary speech 
of congratulation, to which Mr. Polk replied: 

'*I retiun to you. Sir, and to my fellow-dtizens, whose organ 
you are, my sincere and unfeigned thanks for this manifestation 
of the popidar regard and confidence, and for the congratulations 
which you have been pleased to express to me, upon the termina- 
tion and result of the late poHtical contest. I am fully sensible 
that these congratulations are not, and cannot be, personal to my- 
self. It is the eminent success of otu* common principles which 
has spread such general joy over the land. The poUtical struggle 
through which the country has just passed has been deeply exciting. 
Extraordinary causes have existed to make it so. It has 
terminated — ^it is now over — and I sincerely hope and believe, has 
been decided by the sober and settled judgment of the American 

"In exchanging mutual congratulations with each other upon 
the result of the late election, the Democratic party should remem- 

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314 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnessbe History 

ber, in calmly reviewing the contest, that the portion of oiu* fellow 
citizens who have differed with us in opinion have equal political 
rights with ourselves; that minorities as well as majorities are en- 
titled to the full and free exercise of all their opinions and judg- 
ments, and that the rights of all, whether of minorities or majori- 
ties, as such, are entitled to equal respect and regard. 

"In rejoicing, therefore, over the success of the Democratic 
party, and of their principles, in the late election, it should be in 
no spirit of exultation over the defeat of oiu* opponents; but it 
should be because, as we honestly beUeve, oiu* principles and policy 
are better calculated than theirs to promote the true interests of 
the whole country. 

**In the political position in which I have been placed, by 
the voluntary and imsought suffrages of my fellow-citizens, it 
will become my duty, as it will be my pleasure, faithfully and 
truly to represent, in the Executive department of the government, 
the principles and policy of the great party of the coimtry who 
have elected me to it; but at the same time, it is proper to declare, 
that I shall not regard myself as the representative of a party 
only, but of the whole people of the United States; and, I trust, 
that the futtire policy of the government may be such as to se- 
ciu-e the happiness and prosperity of ALL, without distinction 
of party.'* 


'Washington City, May 19, 1848. 

**Dear Sir: — From speculations which have appeared in some 
of the public journals, and from frequent inquiries which have 
been made of me, by many political friends, some of them dele- 
gates to the Democratic National Convention, which will as- 
semble at Baltimore on the 22d instant, I am induced to suppose 
that it may be the desire of some of my friends to propose my 
renomination as the candidate of the Democratic party, for the 
oflSce of President of the United States. Should you ascertain 
that such is the intention of any of the delegates, I desire, through 
you, to commtmicate to the Convention that I am not a candidate 
for the nomination, and that any use of my name with that view 
which may be contemplated, is without any agency or desire on 
my part. 

'*The purpose declared in my letter of the 12th of June, 1844, 
in accepting the nomination tendered to me by the Democratic 
National Convention of that year, remains imchanged; and to 
relieve the Convention from any possible embarrassment which 
*the suggestion of my name might produce in making a free selec- 
tion of a successor who may be best calculated to give effect to 
their will, and guard all the interests of oiu* beloved coimtry,' 
I deem it proper to reiterate the sentiments contained in that 
letter. Since my election, I have often expressed the sincere 
desire, which I still feel, to retire to private life at the dose of 
my present term. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 315 

"I entertain the confident hope and belief that my democratic 
friends of the convention will unite in the harmonious nomination 
of some citizen to succeed me, who, if elected, will firmly maintain 
and carry out the great politcal principles introduced in the reso- 
lutions adopted by the Democratic National Convention in 1844 
— principles which it has been the earnest endeavor and the con- 
stant aim of my administration to preserve and piu^ue — and 
upon the observance of which, in my opinion, mainly depend the 
prosperity and permanent welfare of oiu- coimtry. 

**If, on reviewing the history of my administration, and the 
remarkable events, foreign and domestic, which have attended it, 
it shall be the judgment of my coimtrymen that I have adhered 
to these principles and faithfully performed my duty, the measure 
of my ambition is full, and I am deeply compensated for all the 
labors, cares, and anxieties which are inseparable from the high 
station which I have been called to fill. 

**I shall ever cherish sentiments of deep gratitude to my 
fellow-citizens for the confidence they reposed in me, in elevating 
me to the most distinguished and responsible public trust on 

**It is scarcely necessary that I should add that it will be no 
less my duty than it will be my sincere pleasure, as a citizen, 
to unite with my democratic friends in the support of the nominees 
of the convention, for the oflSces of President and Vice-President 
of the United States. With great respect, I am your obedient 

•To Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey." 

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316 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 


Andrew Jackson — ^The Hermitage and President 
Roosevelt's Visit; and Speech. 

On April 5th, 1889, the Legislature of Tennessee passed an 
Act approved by Governor R. L^ Taylor April 6th, conveying 
to a Board of nine trustees, to be appointed by the Governor, 
twenty-five acres of the Hermitage farm, including the man- 
sion and outhouses; two of these trustees to come from East 
Tennessee, five from Middle Tennessee, and two from West 

This Act also authorizes the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
to be given possession of the twenty-five acres, and placed in 
charge thereof. The title to the property was placed in these 
trustees, but the right to make by-laws for the Ladies' Hermi- 
tage Association was placed in the Association, subject to the 
approval of the trustees. Governor Taylor appointed as the 
first Boa/d of Trustees, Adolph S. Ochs of Chattanooga and H. 
H. Ingersoll of Knoxville, for East Tennessee; Dr. J. Berrien 
Lindsley, Gen. W. H. Jackson, ex-Governor John C. Brown, L. 
F. Benson, all of Nashville, and W. R. French, of Tullahoma, 
for Middle Tennessee; ex-Governor James D. Porter of Paris 
and E. S. Mallory of Jackson, for West Tennessee. 

At the first meeting of the Board of Trustees, ex-Governor 
Porter was elected President, and Dr. Lindsley, Secretary. 

The Ladies' Hermitage Association became a chartered insti- 
tution before the passage of the Legislative Act, and the clause 
of the charter appl)dng for the same was as follows: "We, the 
imdersigned, apply to the State of Tennessee by virtue of the 
laws of the land for a charter of incorporation for the purposes 
and with the powers declared in the foregoing instrument. 

'This the 19th day of February, 1889. (Signed) 
**Mrs. Rachel J. Lawrence, **Mrs. E. L. Nidbolson, 

**Mary W. May, **Miss Louise Grundy Lindsley, 

"Mrs. Mary Hadley Clare, "Mrs. Henry Heiss." 

"Mary C. Dorris, witness to above signatures." 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 317 

The by-laws of the Association provided that the first biennial 
meeting of the Association should be held on the third Wednesday 
in May, 1889, and every two years thereafter, at such place in 
Nashville, Tennessee, as may be designated in the call. 

The inspiration of founding the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
came to Mrs. Andrew Jackson III., wife of General Jackson's 
grandson. Before marriage she was Miss Amy Rich, of Hamilton, 
Ohio. Andrew Jackson III. married Miss Rich and brought her 
as a bride to the Hermitage, and she was therefore acquainted 
with all the conditions, memories and traditions connected with 
Andrew Jackson's old home. Proceeding from this inspiration 
of Mrs. Jackson, the founders of the Ladies' Hermitage Asso- 
ciation became Colonel Andrew Jackson III. and wife, Mrs. Amy 
Jackson, Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, W. A. Donelson and wife, Mrs. 
Bettie M. Donelson. 

Dr. and Mrs. Berrien Lindsley were strong friends in getting 
the bill through the Legislature granting the twenty-five acres 
to the Ladies' Hermitage Association, and the first Board of 
Directors of the Association was elected May 15, 1889, and 
consisted of Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, Regent; Mrs. A. S. Colyar, 
First Vice-Regent; Mrs. J. M. Dickinson, Second Vice-Regent; 
Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, Secretary; L. F. Benson, Treasurer; Mrs. 
William Morrow, Mrs. John Ruhm, Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson. 

The Legislature authorized the Ladies' Hermitage Associa- 
tion to take over the twenty-five acres, the mansion and the 
out-buildings, but the expense of caring lor and improving the 
property was to be exclusively on the Association — not a dollar 
was appropriated by the Legislatiu-e, and no appropriation for 
current expenses was ever made by the Legislattu-e until 1895, 
when the State gave $600.00 a year, and this continued up to 191 1, 
when it was increased to $1,200.00 a year, and so continued to 
1915, when it was increased to $1,800.00 a year, and this is now the 
amoimt appropriated. 


Knowing that considerable sums would be needed to make 
badly needed repairs and pay for cturent expenses, the Hermitage 
Association made an appeal to the public for funds, which was 
printed in a booklet and spread broadcast. This appeal was as 
follows: **The General Assembly of the State of Tennessee has 
assigned to the care of the Ladies' Hermitage Association the 

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318 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

house and tomb of General Jackson and twenty-five surrounding 
acres to improve, beautify and keep forever in perpetual memory 
of the great hero. 

"The Association proposes to do its work thoroughly — ^to 
piu-chase the relics, to renovate the house, to beautify the grounds 
and to make the Hermitage the most beautiful, as it has been 
the most interesting spot, in all the Southland. It will be a 
national museum, inviting pilgrims from the North, the South, 
the East and the West, who will delight to honor the memory of 
him who said: *The Federal Union must be preserved!' 

"The Association proposes to keep in continual repair the 
house, tomb and grounds; for many years nothing has been done 
in this regard. There is consequently great need for a repair 
fund, and the first money collected into the treasury will be devoted 
to restoring to its original beauty the grand old historic mansion, 
the tomb, and to adorning the grounds. The Association also 
wishes to purchase the relics and furniture now at the Hermitage 
and owned by Colonel Andrew Jackson, and which have been 
pledged to said Association. These relics are both valuable and 
interesting, and a large sum of money will be required to piu-chase 
them. It will readily be seen that to put the homestead in thor- 
ough repair, to purchase the felics, to create an endowment fund 
by which the Association is to become self-sustaining, a large 
sum of money will be required. 

"The Association is national in its character, as Andrew 
Jackson was national in his reputation. He belonged to the 
people, and to them the Association now appeals for assistance 
in this great work. The by-laws require a membership fee of 
one dollar; by this means the Association hopes to realize at least 
one himdred and fifty thousand dollars, as it is the belief that 
there are fully that many citizens of the United States who would 
gladly give that sum to the restoration of *01d Hickory's* home. 
Contributions of any sum from one dollar or less to any great 
siun a mtmificent benefactor may be willing to give. Any con- 
tribution may be sent to the Treasurer, L. F. Benson, Nash- 
ville, Tennessee, and will be receipted by him and placed to the 
credit of the Association. We hope that this appeal will strike 
the ke)mote of patriotism and that in a very few years the home of 
Andrew Jackson, the beautiful Hermitage, will be the Mecca of 
all true patriots in the United States, and of historic interest 
to the toimng stranger. 

"Mrs. Nathaniel Baxter, Sr. Regent. 

Mrs. A. S. Colyar, First Vice Regent. 

Mrs. J. M. Dickinson, Second Vice Regent. 

Mrs. D. R. Dorris, Secretary." 

As the years went by the ladies resorted to various expedients 
to raise money and with general success. The Hermitage now is 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 319 

practically the same as when Andrew Jackson lived in it; the 
fiuniture is in the same rooms it occupied when Old Hickory was 
there. The Association has spent fifteen thousand dollars in 
buying the Jackson relics from Colonel Andrew Jackson III., 
and the building is most punctiliously cared for, and, to an Amer- 
can citizen, is one of the most interesting spots in the world. 
Time and again the question has been asked why the Legislature 
of Tennessee placed upon a band of devoted, patriotic women 
the heavy responsibility of restoring the run-down piece of property 
and making it a shrine to which American patriojiism can go and 
worship. It would seem that the State of Tennessee ought to 
have been, and should be now munificent in its appropriations 
for this purpose, but such has not been the case. 

General Jackson, by will, gave the Hermitage to his adopted 
son, Andrew Jackson Jr., who, in 1856, sold it to the State of 
Tennessee for $48,000.00, and then left the Hermitage with his 
family, but retiuned in 1860 at the invitation of Governor Isham 
G. Harris, to take charge of the property until the Legislature 
could determine what should be done with it. The State in- 
tended to oflfer the property to the United States Government 
for an Academy, like that at West Point, but the Civil War came 
on, and nothing came of the matter. During the Civil War 
Andrew Jackson, Jr., remained at the Hermitage, and he died 
there, leaving his widow, Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson, and her 
sister, Mrs. Marion Adams, as the occupants. Mrs. Sarah Jack- 
son remained at the Hermitage by permission of the Legislature 
until 1888, when she died. Her sister, Mrs. Adams, died before 
her, and both are buried in the garden. 

history of the HERMrTAGE. 

General Jackson built, in 1804, a two story log house where 
he was visited by Aaron Burr in 1805; and the General was 
living in that log house in 1815 when he won the Battle of New 
Orleans. The present site was selected for the new Hermitage 
by General Jackson because it was the preference of Mrs. Jackson. 
One day when the General and Major Lewis were on that spot, 
he told Major Lewis that the house would be built there because 
Mrs. Jackson wanted it. The mansion was constructed in 1819, 
and LaFayette was entertained there in 1825. It was burned 
October 14, 1834, and immediately rebuilt and reoccupied in 
May, 1835. It is colonial in its architectiu-e, with two-story 
verandas both front and rear, with a wide hall-way with double 

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320 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbsseb History 

rooms on either side, and wings, making eleven rooms altogether, 
besides kitchen and other necessary small rooms, with smoke- 
house and outhouses. General Jackson bought six hundred and 
fifty acres of what afterwards became the Hermitage Farm for 
eight hundred dollars, and after his mansion was built, it can be 
truthfully said that he came as near keeping open house for every 
one asking his hospitality free of charge, as any man that ever lived. 

It was here that he raised the Indian boy he brought back 
from the battlefields of Talluschatches where he found a slain 
Indian woman still holding a living infant. He tried to get Indian 
women there to nurse the child, which they declined to do, and 
by some means the General succeeded in keeping the infant alive, 
and getting it to Nashville, where Mrs. Jackson received it and 
it grew up in the family and was treated by the General and his 
wife as a son. The boy was named Lincoyer, and was educated 
and finally taken by General Jackson to Nashville and there 
given a choice of trades to learn, and Lincoyer selected harness- 
making; but the seeds of consumption were in him, and he finally 
died at the age of seventeen. 

Illustrative of General Jackson's hospitahty, which was an 
innate and intrinsic part of the man — both at the Hermitage 
and at Washington, two quotations may be made from Parton: 

**In an establishment so restricted. General Jackson and his 
good-hearted wife continued to dispense a most generous hos- 
pitality. A lady of Nashville tells me that she had often been at 
the Hermitage in those simple old times when there was, in each 
of the foiu- available rooms not a guest merely, but a family; 
while the young men and solitary travelers who chanced to drop 
in disposed of themselves on the piazza, or any other half-shelter 
about the house. 'Put it down in yoiu* book,* said one of General 
Jackson's oldest neighbors, *that the General was the prince of 
hospitality; not because he entertained a great many people, 
but because the poor belated peddler was as welcome as the Presi- 
dent of the United States, and made so much at his ease that 
he felt as though he had got home.* '* 

Parton says again: "Amid the bustle and throng and strife 
of Washington, General Jackson maintained the same easy 
and profuse hospitality to which he had been accustomed at the 
Hermitage, and every one of his thousands of guests brought away 
something curious to tell of him. He was one of those positive and 
peculiar men whose commonest action becomes an anecdote, 
and I have consequently accumulated a mass of anecdotical 
reminiscences of him which I cannot withhold, but know not 
how to press within reasonable compass. I may add, before 

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Andrew Jackson and Barly Tbnnbssbe History 321 

going further, that the liberal hospitality of the White House 
compelled the President to eke out his salary by drawing upon 
the proceeds of his farm. Before leaving Washington in 1837 
he had to send for six thousand dollars of the proceeds of his 
cotton crop in order to pay the debts which his last year's salary 
failed to cover. In the spring of 1836 when the Hermitage was 
damaged by fire to the extent of three thousand dollars, he was 
really embarrassed to find the means of repairing and refurnishing 
it. He wrote to a friend in Philadelphia: *I have directed my 
son to oflfer for sale a peice of valuable land in Tennessee. I 
find this will be necessary before I can venture to incur the re- 
sponsibility of another purchase. Here I have no control of 
my expense, and can calculate nothing on my salary.' " 

The part of the five hundred acres pitfchased from Andrew 
Jackson, Jr., by the Legislature, that has not been transferred 
to the Ladies' Hermitage Association is being used for a Con- 
federate Soldiers' Home, but it cannot be many years that this 
use will continue. 

In 1917 the Board of Directors of the Ladies' Hermitage 
Association and the Board of Trustees issued an appeal to the 
people of Tennessee that the entire five hundred acres of the 
Hermitage tract should be placed in the possession of the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association after it was no longer used for a Confed- 
erate Soldiers' Home, and that appeal should meet with a response 
in the breast of admirers of Andrew Jackson everywhere. It 

"An Appeal to the People of Tennessee to Forever Preserve 
the Hermitage Farm in its Entirety as a Suitable and Lasting 
Monument to Major General Andrew Jackson. 


*'In 1856 the State of Tennessee piu-chased the five hundred 
acres of land known as The Hermitage. Ge^aeral Andrew Jack- 
son's adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., in his published letter 
quotes him as saying: 'If you ever find it necessary to sell The 
Hermitage, sell it to my own beloved State,' and so this desire 
was fulfilled. But each successive legislatitfe has been peti- 
tioned, and promoters of various kinds have had plans to con- 
vert this cherished spot into other than a memorial to Jackson. 

**The Ladies' Hermitage Association has been kept on the 
alert as the years have gone by, trying to meet and defeat all such 
endeavors, and it has been difficult, since none of us are experienced 
or paid lobb)dsts, but merely women interested in the highest 
institutions in the world — the home, the school and the chiu-ch. 
We are anxious that the people of Tennessee should aid us in this 


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322 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

endeavor, and by expressions of approval through the press, 
in public school debates and individual expressions, to create a 
sentiment so strong that we may never have to meet and defeat 
any futiu-e plans in legislative halls. 

"In 1889 the legislature passed the Confederate Soldiers' 
Home Bill with suitable appropriations, and at the same time 
passed the bill creating the Ladies* Hermitage Association without 
any appropriation, and transferring to the Association the man- 
sion and twenty-five acres of land. The Association has grown 
larger and stronger each year, and hopes to control and beautify 
the land now held by the Trustees of the Confederate Soldiers' 
Home whenever it ceases to be used for the aged soldiers. 

**By this appeal we lu-ge every Tennessean to be a sentinel 
on the watch tower, to protect and secure this entire historic farm 
as a memorial to Andrew Jackson, so that the time will never 
come when it will be given over for any other purpose, or be swal- 
lowed up in commercial greed, under any pretext whatever. Ten- 
nessee is sufficiently rich to hold it without assaulting Jackson's 
great memory. He was a national figure, and history records 
of him that he never left his home in those old pioneer days of peril 
that he did not render his State and coimtry some signal service, 
a service which gives this generation the privilege of enjoying 
to the fullest the advantages and comforts of the present age. 
Had he not performed those wonderful feats in Southern terri- 
tory it would have been years before the white man could have 
lived in peace therein. He was crowned with honors and filled 
the highest offices within the gift of a democratic people. Citizens 
from all over the country came to his home to do him honor, to 
seek his advice, to enjoy his society and to discuss with him the 
affairs of his country. He sleeps at his quiet and beautiful Her- 
mitage in a tomb provided by him for himself and his beloved 
wife, and it is meet and proper that the State of Tennessee should 
retain the entire property there as a deserving monument to his 
memory. It shoiild be the pride and boast of every Tennessean 
that he feels himself a guardian of the Hermitage lands. 

"the ladies* hermitage association. 

'*Had it not been for the Ladies* Hermitage Association there 
would be no Hermitage today. Instead, it would be just like 
' Jackson's law office on Union Street in Nashville, which has a 
tablet on it sajdng, *This was once Andrew Jackson*s Law Office.' 
In 1889 the Hermitage mansion would have been demolished 
or remodeled for the Confederate Soldiers* Home had not the 
Ladies* Hermitage Association asked and received permission 
from the Legislatiu-e to preserve it, and ^th its own funds, 
through its own endeavors, the Association has piu-chased all the 
valuable relics needed to make the mansion complete, and, unlike 
George Washington's home, it is replete with genuine relics and 
not reproductions. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 323 

"The shadows are growing long toward the evening of life for 
the old Confederate heroes, and in a short time something will 
be done with that part of the land siurounding the Hermitage 
mansion. The time will come, all too quickly, when the last 
Confederate veteran will have answered the last roll call, taps 
will have been sotmded, and the old soldier will sleep his Is^t 
sleep. It is for such a time as this that the Ladies* Hermitage 
Association desires to make another plea for the possession of the 
entire Jackson farm, in order that the people of this broad Union 
may be able to visit the home and haunts of Old Hickory, draw 
inspiration from his great name and great fame, take a lesson in pa- 
triotism by recalling his history and viewing his home and his lands, 
and compare the greatness of Jackson with the greatness of today. 

"The Ladies* Hermitage Association does not seek any addi- 
tional appropriation whatever, only that the added trust which 
they ask be placed in their hands. The Association feels that it 
has fully demonstrated its ability to take care of the greater trust 
as it ha^ taken care of the twenty-five acres around the mansion 
which were entrusted to it in 1889. 

"For the first six years after the organization of the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association the Legislature never gave a dollar toward 
the upkeep of the property, and it was in a state of extreme 
dilapidation, but today the home and grounds are in a high state 
of preservation, beautifully kept and exquisitely fiunished with 
the genuine belongings of General Andrew Jackson, himself. 

**The Association feels that the name and fame of Jackson 
are great enough for the Legislatiu-e of Tennessee to erect any 
montmient, no matter how expensive it might be; and it also feels 
that it is not asking too much of Tennessee that the entire farm, once 
owned and tilled by Jackson, should be held in its entirety, to the 
memory of the great hero. The property all belongs to the 
State, so that no ptu-chase money will be required to possess it. 
Siu-ely this great commonwealth can afford to honor itself by 
giving into tibe care and trust of the Memorial Association this 
beautiful tract of land of such intense historic interest for the 
present generation, and which will continue so for all generations 
of Tennesseans that are to come.** 

board op directors. 

Mrs. B. F. Wilson, Regent. 

Miss Louise G. Lindsley, 1st Vice Regent. 

Mrs. A. M. Shook, 2nd Vice Regent. 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, Secretary. 

Mrs. Maggie L. Hicks, Treasiu-er. 

Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson. 

Mrs. R. A. Henry. 

Miss Carrie Sims. 

Mrs. Porter Phillips. 

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324 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnkbssbb History 

board op trustees. 

S. G. Heiskell, President. 

John W. Gaines, Vice President. 

John M. Gray, Jr., Secretary. 

Percy Warner. 

M. T. Bryan. 

A. M. Shook. 

Commodore Albert L. Key. 

J, W. Lewis. 

G. T. Fitzhugh. 


On October 22, 1907, upon the invitation of the Governor of 
the State, the MsLyoT, Board of Trade and leading citizens of 
Nashville, President Theodore Roosevelt visited The Hermitage 
and was accorded a very cordial reception. A distinguished assem- 
bly of citizens came together there to greet him, and he was shown 
every mark of that high courtesy due the President of the United 
States. He was met at the entrance by Mrs. Mary Dorris, Regent 
of the Association, and Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence, grand- 
daughter of General Jackson, and was conducted through the 
mansion, grounds and gardens, and his friends insisted that his 
photograph be taken while standing at the tomb of Jackson, 
which was done; and the photograph is now one of the prized pos- 
sessions of the Ladies' Hermitage Association. One of his very 
first utterances after arriving was to say, "At the very beginning 
I want to ask you ladies, have you any objection to Congress appro- 
priating money to help yoiu* Association in yoiu* beautiful and 
patriotic work?" This question was graciously answered, and 
later he was formally and officially answered by resolution of the 
Board of Trustees of The Hermitage appointed by the Governor 
of the State, and of the Board of Directors of the Ladies' Hermi- 
tage Association, thanking him for his interest in the Home and 
Tomb of Jackson, and accepting any appropriation Congress might 
see fit to make. 

From the Tomb, President Roosevelt addressed the audience 
present and said: 

THE president's address. 

*'0h, my friends, think how much it means to all oiu* history, 
think how much it means to oiu* people of today, that we should 
have this Hermitage as a place of national pilgrimage for all 
citizens who wish to learn, to study, who wish to quicken their 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 325 

patriotism in the present by being here in the abode, in the living 
place of one of the great patriots of the nation's past. 

"On behalf of the nation I wish to thank the Ladies* Hermi- 
tage Association who have preserved it. But I do not think it 
just or fair that the burden which should be supported by the 
nation should be a drain upon private purses. 

"It is greatly to your credit that you have done this work 
which the nation ought to have done, but I shall do all that I 
can do to see that the nation relieves you, not of the management, 
but of the expense of the management. And I shall count on the 
hearty support of all the senators and congressmen from Tennessee 
and from every other State. I want to say that Andrew Jackson 
was a Tennessean, but Andrew Jackson was an American, and there 
is not a State in this nation cannot daim him, that has not the 
right to claim him as a national hero. 

"And surely no use of the public money can be better, can 
be wiser spent than in keeping up, for the instruction of the future, 
the home of the great statesman. 

**I know the objection will be made that if we begin to take 
care of this house we shall be expected to take care of the houses 
of all the presidents. I draw a sharp distinction between Old 
Hickory and a great many Presidents. 

"The Hermitage should be cared for by the nation in the same 
spirit that we now care for Mount Vernon. Of course Motmt 
Vernon stands absolutely unique among all places, but The 
Hermitage represents the home of one of the three or four greatest 
presidents this nation has ever had; of one of the three or four 
greatest public men that any nation has developed in the same 
length of time. 

"Andrew Jackson was a great national figiu-e. His career 
will stand ever more and more as a soiu-ce of inspiration for boy 
and man in this republic. A soldier, a statesman, a patriot, 
devoted with a single mind to the welfare of his whole country. 
I/Ct his whole country make it their object, acting through the 
national government, to see that hereafter there is no question 
of keeping up The Hermitage and all its sturotmdings. 

"My friends, I have but a moment here in which to greet you. 
I did not come here to teach, but to learn. I did not come to speak, 
but to pay my respects to the Home and Tomb of Andrew Jackson. 

"Public questions change from time to 'time. One generation 
has to meet and solve a given set of problems; the next generation 
has to meet and solve another set of problems; but the spirit in 
which these problems must be met, if they are to be successfully 
solved, cannot change. The man who has the stuff in him to 
make a good citizen in one generation would be a good citizen 
in any other generation. That is true of civic life exactly like it 
is true of military life. 

"At New Orleans General Jackson's troops fought with the 
long, heavy Pea rifle — ^the old flint-lock — the weapon that the 

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326 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

first hunters carried when they came over the mountains into 
Tennessee and Kentucky. Weapons change, tactics change, 
but the spirit of the soldier who wins victories remains tmchan^d 
from generation to generation. And I believe that, at need, the 
American people would do well now in war, because I bdieve 
that we have among us men who would be borne up by the same 
spirit to which Andrew Jackson was able successfully to appeal 
on that misty January morning when the fog lifting, showed the 
scarlet ranks of the gallant British regulars advancing to die on 
the breastworks at New Orleans. 

"So it was true of you men of the great war. You fought 
with the muzzle loader. Some of them were flint locks, I guess. 
Now we have the high-power, small caUber rifle; the rifles that 
were new in your day, or lujknown in your day, are antiquated 
now. The tactics change. They wear khaki instead of blue or 
grey; but if ever the crisis comes, our men can only win if they 
show that they have now the same spirit that sent on to battle the 
men in blue and the men in grey in the dark years from 1861-65. 

"The spirit does not change; and it is the spirit of the man 
that counts as the ultimate and decisive factor in battle. We 
need organization; we need generalship, but organization and gen- 
eralship cannot avail unless the private soldier in the ranks, unless 
the average man with a musket, has got the right stuff in him, 
for if he has not got the right stuff in him, you cannot get it out 
of him because it is not there to get out. 

"Just as it is in time of war, so it is in time of peace. Since 
Andrew Jackson's time, in the seventy years that have elapsed 
since he was President, the problems have changed. We have 
seen the growth of a great complex civilization; we need different 
laws and therefore different methods of administering tke laws. 
But we must administer it in the spirit of Andrew Jackson — must 
administer all laws and enact them in the spirit of Andrew Jackson 
if our government is to continue to be a success. 

"I should not say that Old Hickory was faultless. I do not 
know very many strong men that have not got some of the defects 
of their qualities, but Andrew Jackson was as upright a patriot, 
as honest a man, as fearless a gentleman as ever any nation had 
in pubUc or private life. His memory will remain forever a pre- 
cious national heritage and his public career should be studied 
and stimulated by every public man who desires to be in good faith 
the servant of the whole people of the United States." 

In his next message to congress the President said : 

"I solemnly recommend to the Congress to provide funds for 
keeping up The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson, these 
funds to be used through the existing Hermitage Association for 
the preservation of the historic building which should be ever 
dear to America." 

On January 8, 1908, Hon. John W. Gaines, member of the 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 327 

Board of Trustees of The Hermitage, introduced in Congress a 
bill following the recommendation of the President, and making 
an appropriation for The Hermitage, and supported the bill by 
an extended speech covering the career of General Jackson, the 
history of The Hermitage and its preservation, and the patriotic 
care due it both from the Government and the State. All the 
other members of Congress from Tennessee, in both the House 
and the Senate, earnestly supported the move for an appropria- 
ton, and the bill finally passed granting $5,000.00 from the na- 
tional treastuy to The Hermitage Association in accordance with 
the President's recommendation. 

The act passed by the I/Cgislatiu-e of Tennessee in 1856 author- 
ized the purchase from Andrew Jackson, Jr., of 500 acres of the 
Hermitage farm and was in these words: 


"Whereas, it is good policy in a republican government to en- 
courage the habits of industry and to inculcate sentiments of 
veneration for those departed heroes who have rendered import- 
ant services to their country in times of danger; and 

"Whereas, Tennessee acknowledges no superior in feelings of 
patriotism and devotion to the Union in whose cause the lamented 
Andrew Jackson acquired so much distinction; therefore 

"Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the 
State of Tennessee that the Governor of the State be empowered 
and it is hereby made his duty to purchase for the State of Tennes- 
see 500 acres of the late residence of Andrew Jackson, deceased, 
including the Mansion, Tomb and other improvements known 
as "The Hermitage". 

"Section 2. Be it further enacted that whenever the said pur- 
chase is made and the title to said property seciu-ed to the State, 
that the Governor is hereby authorized to cause the bonds of 
the State to be issued and to endorse the same in an amotmt not 
exceeding $48,000.00, the proceeds of which to be appropriated 
by him in canying into effect the provisions of this act: Provided, 
that the Governor and the Secretary of State upon investigation 
shall be satisfied said price is not exorbitant; 

"Section 3. Be it further enacted that the Governor of the 
State be authorized and required to tender the said property to 
the General Government of the United States upon the express 
condition that it be used as a site for a branch of the Military 
Academy at West Point; and in the event the General Government 
does not accept the tender thus made in two years from the ex- 
piration of this session of the General Assembly, then the Gover- 
nor shall be authorized and required to have fifty acres laid off, 
including the Tomb, the Mansion, and the spring and the spring 

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328 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

houses, and expose the balance to public sale either as a whole or 
in lots, on time or for cash as to him may seem best, and make his 
report to the Legislatiu-e of 1859-60. 

The coming on of the Civil War prevented any steps for con- 
verting The Hermitage into a branch of the Military Academy, and 
the tender to the Government required by this act was never made. 

The following boards have had control of the Association 
since its organization: 

Elected May 15, 1889: 

Mrs. Mary L. Baxter Regent 

Mrs. A. S. Colyar First Vice Regent 

Mrs. J. M. Dickinson Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

L. F. Benson...^ Treasm^er 

Mrs. Wm. Morrow 
Mrs. John Ruhm 
Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson 
Mrs. Dimcan B. Cooper 
Mrs. Felix DeMoville 
Elected May 20, 1891: 

Mrs. Mary I/. Baxter Regent 

Mrs. Albert S. Marks First Vice Regent 

Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris ^Secretary 

Dr. William Morrow Treasurer 

Mrs. Wm. Morrow 
Mrs. John Ruhm 
Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson 
Mrs. John C. Gaut 
Mrs. Maggie L. Hicks 
Elected June 7, 1893: 

Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, Regent 

Mrs. Albert S. Marks First Vice Regent 

Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

Mr. Edgar Jones Treasurer 

Mrs. John Ruhm Auditor 

Mrs. John C. Gaut 

Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson 

Mrs. Isabel M. Clark 

Mrs. J. M. Dickinson 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 329 

Elected October 30, 1 895 : 

Mrs. Mary L. Baxter Regent 

Mrs. Albert S. Marks Acting Regent 

Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

Mrs. John Ruhm Auditor 

Mrs. P. H. Manlove Treasurer 

Mrs. Hugh Craighead 
Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson 
Mrs. John C. Gaut 
Mrs. Isabel Clark 

Elected May 19, 1897: 

Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, Regent 

Mrs. Albert S. Marks Acting Regent 

Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

Mrs. P. H. Manlove Treasurer 

Mrs. R. G. Throne 
Mrs. J. M. Dickinson 
Mrs. M. S. Cockrill 
Mrs. A. M. Shook 
Mrs. John C. Gaut 

Elected May 17, 1889: 

Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley Regent 

Mrs. J. M. Dickinson First Vice Regent 

Mrs. Eugene C. Lewis Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris.. Secretary 

Mrs. A. M. Shook Treasurer 

Mrs. R. G. Throne 
Mrs. M. S. Cockrill 
Mrs. A. M. Shook 
Mrs. John C. Gaut 
Mrs. J. C. Buntin 

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330 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

Elected May 15, 1901: 

Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley Regent 

Mrs. A. M. Shook First Vice Regent 

Mrs. M. S. Cockrill Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

Mrs. J. Walter Allen Treasurer 

Mrs. Wm. J. McMurray 
Mrs. Thomas M. Stegar 
Mrs. John C. Gaut 
Mrs. J. C. Btmtin 

Elected May 13, 1903: 

Mrs. J. Berrien Lindsley Regent 

Mrs. A. M. Shook First Vice Regent 

Mrs. M. S. Cockrill Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

Mrs. J. Walter Allen ^Treasurer 

Mrs. John C. Gaut 

Mrs. W. J. McMurray 

Mrs. Thomas M. Stegar 

Mrs. J. C. Bimtin 

Mrs. Lindsley expiring July 5, 1903, Mrs. 
A. M. Shook was elected Regent, Miss 
Louise Lindsley a director. 

Elected May 17, 1905: 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Regent 

Mrs. M. S. Cockrill First Vice Regent 

Miss Louise Lindsley Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. J. Walter Allen Secretary 

Mrs. P. H. Manlove Treasurer 

Mrs. W. J. McMurray 
Mrs. Thomas M. Stegar 
Mrs. J. C. Buntin 
Mrs. A. M. Shook 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessbb History 331 

Elected May 15, 1907: 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Regent 

Miss Louise G. Lindsley First Vice Regent 

Mrs. A. M. Shook Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Walter Allen Secretary 

Mrs. P. H. Manlove Treasurer 

Mrs. M. S. Cockrill 
Mrs. Thomas M. Stegar 
Mrs. B. F. Wilson 
Mrs. Joseph M. Ford 

Elected May 19, 1909: 

Miss Louise Grundy Lindsley Regent 

Mrs. Walter Allen First Vice Regent 

Mrs. A. M. Shook Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

Mrs. P. H. Manlove Treasurer 

Mrs. M. S. Cockrill 
Mrs. Cleves Symmes 
Mrs. B. F. Wilson 
Mrs. Joseph M. Ford 

Mrs. M. S. Cockrill expired 1910; Mrs. D. Shelby WiDiams 
elected Director. 

Elected May 17, 1911: 

Miss Louise Grundy Lindsley Regent 

Mrs. J. Walter Allen First Vice Regent 

Mrs. B. F. Wilson Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

Mrs. P. H. Manlove..— Treasurer 

Mrs. J. Cleves Symmes 
Mrs. John C. Brown 
Mrs. A. M. Shook 
Mrs. James H. Campbell 

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332 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 

Elected May 21, 1913: 

Mrs. B. F. WUson Regent 

Miss Lotiise B. Lindsley First Vice Regent 

Mrs. A. M. Shook Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris „ Secretary 

Mrs. P. H. Manlove Treasurer 

Miss Carrie Sims 
Mrs. R. A. Henry 
Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson 
Mrs. Maggie L. Hicks 

Elected May 19, 1915: 

Mrs. B. F. Wilson Regent 

Miss Louise G. Lindsley First Vice Regent 

Mrs. A. M. Shook Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

Mrs. P. H. Manlove Treaisurer 

Miss Carrie Sims 
Mrs. R. A. Henry 
Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson 
Mrs. Maggie L. Hicks 

Elected May 16, 1917: 

Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson Regent 

Mrs. B. F. Wilson First Vice Regent 

Miss Louise G. Lindsley Second Vice Regent 

Mrs. Mary C. Dorris Secretary 

Mrs. Maggie L. Hicks Treasurer 

Mrs. A. M. Shook 
Mrs. R. A. Henry 
Mrs. Porter Phillips 
Mrs. J. Washington Moore 

The following gentlemen have served on the Board of Trustees^ 
in addition to the members of the present Board: 

*Ex-Gov. John C. Brown 
*Ex-Gov. Jas. D. Porter 
*Dr. D. F. Porter 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 333 

♦I,. P. Benson 

♦Hon. Julian A. Trousdale 

♦Hon. E. S. Mallory 

♦Judge H. H. Ingersoll 

♦Hon. H. S. Chamberlain 

♦Gen. W. H. Jackson 

♦W. R. French 

♦Dr. J. Berrien lyindsley 

♦Gen. John F. Wheless 

♦Dr. Thomas A. Atchison 

♦Nat Baxter 

♦Gen. G. P. Thurston 

Judge J. M. Dickinson 

Hon. A. C. Floyd 

Gen. John A. Fite 

Lewis R. Donelson 

Hon. J. M. Head 


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334 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbsseb History 

[ " ■ ^ ■■ ''■ . '' ■■ " ■ "■" ■ "■"■"■"■^ ■ "■^■"■''■*ir^W*B" M *M"M*M''w'*B"B*MVK . "B" ll " M " l "B."MS«"M" l "B" l "M"i'' l ': Ma 


Andrew Jackson — The Hermitage and Relics of 


Nothing so impresses the thoughtful visitor at the Hermitage 
as the very high degree of taste and elegance displayed by the 
person, whoever it may have been, that selected the furniture, 
decorations, pictures, chinaware, silverware and the hundred 
other things that make up this beautifully equipped home. Yet 
beautifully equipped it was (and still is) and that too, only a few 
years after the first steamboat whistled for the Nashville landing; 
when the public highways could not truthfully be called roads; 
when there was not a railroad in the State and hardly one in Amer- 
ica; when schools were few at best and only nominal educa- 
tional factors in the life of the day; when art was not taught in 
the schools in any of its forms, and was practically unknown, 
tmless introduced from beyond the State; when manufacturing 
was not yet bom in Tennessee and was in its infancy all over the 
United States; and when, in every aspect of life, the simpUcity 
of the pioneer was over everything. The wall paper on the Her- 
mitage was ordered by General Jackson from Paris, France, and 
represents Telemachus in search of Ulysses, a classical story. 
How came Old Hickory to import so splendid a wall covering for 
his home? Who selected it for him? Or did, as was most prob- 
able, he select it for himself? Whose taste picked out the beauti- 
ful cut glass chandeliers, that, eighty-two years after they were 
hung, will stand comparison with even the ornamental Ught fix- 
tures of today? Where was the fumitm-e made and who selected 
it? We are curious to know these things, and many other things 
about this home in the then wilds of the western country. 

Old Hickory's enemies used to say that he did not, and could 
not, write his messages and other public communications, and that 
they were the work of friends, or employed writers. If so, he 
had a most marvelous insight in selecting the men who under- 
stood his exact purposes and could give the very highest distinc- 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 335 

tion to his official communications, for his State papers rank among 
the very greatest. But did he also select some one to furnish 
and beautify his home for him? If so, he had again, marvelous 
intuition in selecting exactly the right person. Is it not wonderful 
that the son of a poor Irish immigrant was so refined in his taste, 
and so appreciative of beautiful things that he was willing to go 
to the necessarily heavy expense of equipping such a home as he 
had in that backwoods country ? That home was, remarkable, 
but it was only one of many remarkable things about Andrew 
Jackson. His enemies held him up as being the next thing to an 
untamed savage, even when at his best, and not tamed at all 
when his temper was aroused. Yet, in his home, his soft, gentle, 
humanizing deportment, his highbred courtesy, his unfailing 
kindness, his lavish hospitality not only to friends but to any so- 
journer within his gates, were all patent to any one privileged to 
become his guest. In that home the observer could see that there 
was no lack of appreciation of, or indifference to, the beauty 
and refinement of his surroundings, but that he accepted every 
delightful and refining accessory as if he **was to the manor bom." 
Jackson knew intuitively and took in in advance, things that had 
to be drilled into others by the process of the school, or long con- 
tact, or continued observation. If Fortune was unkind to him 
in his early days, and did not give him long or thorough academic 
training. Nature, his good mother, was lavish in her intellectual 
gifts, and in endowing him wth mental/insight that did not require 
the training of schools to develop it, but dime, like the flash of 
electricity from the clouds. It was just this intellectual acumen 
that made long schooling for Andrew Jackson unnecessary; it was 
just this mental quickness that caused that marvelous develop- 
ment of the man, as any one could see by comparing his crude 
yoimg days at Nashville, with the polish and development that 
came in a very few years, and came not through or by any formal 
training, but simply by association with his fellowmen and assim- 
ilating qualities and capacities that made up for the things that 
he lacked. Therefore, we have ample ground on which to base 
the conclusion that in everything connected with a life of intellect- 
ual, refined, cultivated people who were capable of knowing the 
best in the social intercourse of Ufe, that Andrew Jackson was fully 
able to stand comparison. 

Let the reader now take a walk through the Hermitage, and 
study every feature of every room, and bear in mind that the 

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336 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

Hennitage of today is the Hermitage that Andrew Jackson built 
and furnished and loved and lived in and invited the world to 
share with him. 


Entering the hall, which is large and commodious, one notes 
at first glance number 

1. The pictorial wall paper, ordered by General Jackson from 
Paris, France, when the house was rebuilt in 1835. It was shipped 
by way of New Orleans up the Mississippi and Cumberland Rivers. 
It represents the legend of the travels of Telemachus in search of 
Ulysses, his father, and is that part of the story of his landing on 
the Island of Calypso. He is accompanied by Mentor. The 
first scene is the landing and the Queen advancing to meet them. 

Scene II. Is Telemachus relating the story of his travels to 
Calypso, the faithful Mentor by his side. 

Scene III. Calypso gives a fete in his honor, and Cupid begins 
to play a part. 

Scene IV. Telemachus resolves to escape; Calypso's maidens 
bum his boat and he jumps from the diflfs. 

2. Oil painting of Christopher Columbus. 

3. Mahogany sofa in the position General Jackson loved to 
see it. 

4. Pier table. The mate to it is in the dining room. 

5. Bust of Lewis Cass, Secretary of War and Minister Plen- 
ipotentiary to Franc© under Gen. Jackson. 

6. Gen. Jackson's hatrack. 

7. Gen. Jackson's umbrella stand. 

8. Original stair carpet and rods of Gen. Jackson. The floor 
covering was furnished by the Association. The original oilcloth 
is in the house, but is much too frail for use. 

A. The desk was used in the exhibit of the Ladies' Hermitage 
Association at the World's Columbian exposition; also. 

B. The chair at desk. 

9. Hall chandelier used for fifty years. 

10. Oil portrait of Jackson by Earl. One of his best. 

11. Flags used in the decoration at Horse Shoe Bend on the 
one hundredth anniversary of the battle. Presented by Mrs. 
B. F. Wilson. 

12. Oil portrait of Andrew Jackson, Jr., adopted son of Gen- 
Andrew Jackson. Was adopted and named Andrew Jackson, 

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I 1. 



:' f', 



|Tn.D ' ^ 


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Andrew Jackson and Eari.y Tennessee History 337 

Jr., in 1800, when but three days old. Loaned by Mrs. Amy 
Jackson, widow of Col. Andrew Jackson. 

13. Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson, wife of Andrew Jackson, Jr. 
Was married while Jackson was President, and was taken a bride 
to the White House in 1831. Presided as Lady of the White 
House. Loaned by Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence. 

14. Portrait of Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence, daughter of 
adopted son. Loaned. 

15. Poem by Mrs Scott. 

16. Glass celande or hurricane shade. 

17. "The Hermitage," a poem written by and presented to 
the Ladies' Hermitage Association by J. C. L Byrnes, of Phil- 

18. Old brass candlestick, presented by Mrs. Percy Warner. 

19. Case of souvenirs which are for sale. Plates, post cards 
and catalogues. 

GEN. Jackson's parlors. 

1. Crystal chandelier used at the Hermitage for over fifty 

2. Six mahogany chairs used in Gen. Jackson's parlors. 

3. Engraving, "Sortie on Gibraltar." 

4. Engraving, "Siege on Gilbraltar." 

5. Pair of Dresden vases on wall brackets. 

6. Papier-mache table bought by Andrew Jackson, Jr. 

7. Papier-mache chair, match to the table. 

8 and 9. Silver lustre vases sent to Gen. Jackson from Russia. 

10. Mahogany sofa bought by Mr. Hoffstetter at the sale of 
the adopted son's effects in 1865, presented to the Association in 
1897 by Miss Bettie Hoffstetter. 

11. Pier table A. 

12. Pier table B — the pair placed where Gen. Jackson had 

13. Bust of Levi Woodbury of Gen. Jackson's Cabinet, with 
the autograph letter of presentation and Gen. Jackson's auto- 
graph note of reply. 

14. Silk damask curtains. 

15. Mantel mirrors, in front and back parlors. 

16. Mantel of Italian marble. 

17 Duplicate mantel in Tennessee marble. 
18. Japanese bronze clock inlaid with enamel, hand wrought. 

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338 Andrbw Jackson and Earjuy Tbnnbssbb History 

19. Candelabra to match Japanese clock; figure of men holding 
branch of candles. 

20. Velvet chair of the old Hermitage furnishings. 

21. Chair with back inlaid with mother of pearl. 

22. Parlor andirons. 

23. The original carpets used in the Hermitage for over fifty 

24. Parian marble vases. 

25. Mahogany cabmet. 

26. Portrait by Earl of Gen. Jackson on Sam Patch, a magnif- 
icent white horse presented to him in 1833 by the citizens of Penn- 
sylvania. Gen. Jackson rode this horse in a grand civic and mili- 
tary parade given in his honor in Philadelphia, after which it 
was sent to Nashville and died during the Civil War. A Federal 
soldier whom Gen. Geo. H. Thomas had placed as guard at the 
Hermitage fired a military salute over the grave. In 1913 this 
old soldier visited the Hermitage and located the grave of Sam 
Patch. A marker will be placed on the spot. 

27. Portrait of Mrs. Jackson in ball dress. By Earl. 

28. Bust of Mrs. Mary L. Baxter, first Regent of the Asso- 
ciation. By Zolnay. 

29. Marble pedestal presented to the Association by Mrs. 
Bond, of the East Tennessee Stone & Marble Co., from the 
Knoxville Building at the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. 

30. Velvet divan. 

31. Bust of Gen. Jackson by Hiram Powers. This Powers 
bust of Jackson presented by the sculptor before he went to 
Italy for study, is one of the best examples of pure American art. 

32. Portrait of Jackson, presented by Mrs. Thomas M, Steger 

back PARlrOR. 

33. Crystal chandelier. 

34. Mahogany chairs used in Gen. Jackson's parlors. 

35. Velvet divan. 

36. Parian marble vase, mate to No. 24. 

37. Handsome pair of Dresden vases. 

38. Marble bust of Jackson, presented by Hon. Lawrence 
Cooper, Huntsville, Alabama. 

39. a, b, c, d. Handsome gilt wall brackets bought by Andrew 
Jackson, Jr. 

40. Gen. CoflFee. 

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Andrew Jackson and Eari^y Tbnnbssbb History 339 

41. Gen. Bronagh. 

42. Col. Gadsden. 

43. Lieut. Eastin. 

(These four constituted the Staff Officers generally called 
"Gen. Jackson's military family.'*) 

44. Portrait of Jackson with spectacles on. One of Earl's 

45. Flag from the grave of Lafayette procured for the Asso- 
ciation by Miss M. E. Ford. 

46. Original Jackson piano, presented by Col. Andrew Jackson. 

47. Chair from the Chateau de LaFayette presented to the 
Association in 1890 by Senator Edmand de LaFayette, grandson 
of Gen. LaFayette. 

48. Beaded mats for candle sticks. 

49. Candle stick of German silver. 

50. Music book of Mrs. Emily Donelson, Lady of the White 
House during the early years of Jackson's administration. Pre- 
sented by Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson. 

51. Clock that was in the Hermitage before the death of Mrs. 
Rachel Jackson, one of the oldest relics. The hands were set at 
the hour Jackson died. 

52. Mahogany centre table. The only piece remaining of the 
set presented to General and Mrs. Jackson when on a visit to New 
Orleans after the battle. 

55. Carved mahogany sofa. 

gen. Jackson's bbdroom. 

This room is as it was the day he died, with the same furniture 
he used, the bed he died upon, the chair he sat in, etc. The fiuni- 
ture consists of bedstead, bureau, wardrobe, washstand with six 
china pieces, table, chair, settee or sofa, carpet, curtains, andirons 
and fender, mirror, brass candle stick, etc. The same pictures 
are on the wall. 

1 . Portrait of of his wife, over the mantel, upon which his dying 
gaze rested. 

2. Portrait of his adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., in child- 

3. Portrait of the granddaughter, now Mrs. Rachel J. Lawrence, 
eldest child of the adopted son, the pet and companion of his de- 
clining years. 

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340 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbsseb History 

4. Portrait of Jackson by Mr. Alexander. It bears the inscrip- 
tion, "No free government can exist without virtue in its people." 

5. Ciutains and drapery of Gen. Jackson's bed. Used in the 
winter, but removed always in the summer. 

6. Chinese Mandarin smelling bottles. Belonged to Mrs. Jack- 

7. Shell vases and box. Belonged to Mrs. Jackson. 

8. Steel engravmg, the "Sixth Seal.** 

9. Colored print, "Battle of the Thames.** 

10. Colored print, "Battle of North Point." 

11. Tobacco-box, used constantly by the old General. 

12. Silk dressing gown worn by the old hero. 

13. Linen shirt with ruffles in front, as was then the fashion. 
One of a dozen made by hand by the house seamstress. 

14. Leather hat box. 

MRS. JACKS0N*S room. 

This room was occupied by Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson, wife 
of the adopted son, Andrew Jackson. The fiuniture was bought 
and placed here by General Jackson, and was a counterpart of 
the set placed in his room at the same time in 1835, when the 
house was restored after the fire. 

1 . One of the original mahogany beds. 

2. Bureau, facsimile to the one in Jackson's room. 

3. Chest of drawers of Jackson*s. 

4. Washstandof Jackson*s. 

5. Mahogany table with marble top, mate to £he one in Jack- 
son's office. 

6. Brass andirons. 

7. Portrait of Gen. Jackson. 

8. Washbasin, only piece left of the original set. 

9. Lamps with cut glass shades, presented by Mrs. Andrew 
Jackson, III. 

SIDE hall. 

1. Holland House, in ShelbyA/'ille, where Jackson danced at a 
ball in 1828. Presented to the Ladies* Hermitage Association 
by W. D. Corbitt, photographer. 

2. Col. Wm. H. Rnauss, of Ohio, presented flag, his picture 
and $5.00 to L. H. A. 

3. The oldest house in Mobile, where Jackson had his head- 
quarters in 1814. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 341 

4. The courtroom in Royal Street, New Orleans, where Gen. 
Jackson was fined $1 ,000.00 for declaring martial law. Presented 
by E. A. Saucier. 

5 . Interior views before Col . Jackson moved from the Hermitage. 

6. Interior of hall. 

7. Photo of Jackson's Masonic apron. 

8. Interior view of parlor. 

9. Photo of Jackson when 21 years of age. 

10. Interior of dining-room, with table, chairs and sideboard. 

11. Photo of pearl miniatixre of Mrs. Jackson. 

12. Photo of January 8th mantel in dining-room. 

13. Photo of letter presenting phaeton. 

14. Interior of Jackson's bedchamber. 

15. Admiral Dewey at the grave of Andrew Jackson, May 11th, 

16. Engraved copy of the miniature of Jackson, by Dodge. 

17. Photos of the wooden figurehead of the old ship Constitu- 
tion. A representation of President Jackson. On account of the 
Nullification Act, there was great opposition to him in some of 
the New England States. The vessel was in the harbor at Boston, 
and was lying between two men-of-war. Some person, for a long 
time unknown, succeeded in cutting off the head of the figure with- 
in six feet of an armed guard, a stormy night aiding the perpetra- 
tor. The latter was at a later date brought before the President 
with the wooden head in his hand. Jackson, in looking at it, 
remarked: '*My friend, whenever you see as poor a representa- 
tive as that of myself, you have my full permission to cut off its 
head." The figure is now in a part of a New England city. 

18. Admiral Schley at the tomb of Jackson, February 2, 1902. 

19. Mrs. Emily Donelson, wife of Andrew J. Donelson, private 
secretary to Jackson. Presented as Lady of the White House. 

20. Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson, wife of Andrew Jackson, Jr., 
the adopted son of Gen. Jackson. Presided as Lady of the 
White House. 

2 1 . The little Rachel, granddaughter of Andrew Jackson. Now 
Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence. 

22. Uncle Afred, the faithful old servant. 

23. Uncle Alfred. 

24. Case of books, with autographs and inscriptions. 

25. President Roosevelt at the tomb of Jackson. The Presi- 
dent visited the Hermitage October 22, 1907. He was the eighth 

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342 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

President who ever came into this historic diningroom. He was 
instrumental in having Congress vote an appropriation for the 
Ladies' Hermitage Association. 

26. Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence's birthday party at the 
Hermitage, October 31, 1908. Age, 76. Presentation of loving 
cup by Ladies' Hermitage Association. 

27. Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence and some of her descend- 

28. Japanese tea celebration of January 8, 1906, under the 
management of Mrs. B. F. Wilson. 

20. International reception January 8, 1907. Young ladies 
costumed in all nations, under the management of Mrs. Joseph 

30. Patriotic drill by children, January 8, 1908, managed by 
Mrs. Joseph Warner. 

31. Virginia reel in patriotic costumes, January 8, 1909, man- 
aged by Mrs. Percy Warner. 

32. Costume worn by Mrs. Mary C. Dorris, the Regent, at the 
January 8th ball, 1909. 

33. Scenes from bal poudre given January 8, 1910, managed 
by the Regent, Miss Louise G. Lindsley. 

34. Settee, made from wood from Ha5rwood County. 

35. Tomb. 

36. Gen. Jackson's Cabinet. 

37. Uncle Alfred's room and funeral. 

38. Col. Jackson's sons. 


1. Showcase was presented by Maj. E. B. Stahlman. 

2. Progranunes of menu for Tennessee Society, St. Louis. 

3. Invitation and programme to the Ladies* Hermitage Asso- 

4. Pen portrait of R. E. W. Earl and pamphlet of lineage. 

5. Part of a chain given Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson by the Pre- 
sident when she was bride at the White House. 

Presented to the Association by Mrs. Joseph J. Thompson. 

6. Shell card rack and letter. Presented by Mrs. Hayne in 1828. 

7. Box for epaulettes. 

8. Brooch of the battle of New Orleans, presented by Mrs. Ellen 
Call Long. 

9. Leather shot pouch, belonging to Andrew Jackson, Jr. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 343 

10. Autograph letter of Byron written to "Catignani's Messen- 
ger'* in 1819. 

1 1 . Bronze medal of Jackson, presented by Gen. G. P. Thruston. 

12. Locket containing Jackson's hair. Loaned by Miss Pearl 

13. Fourteen-blade knife of Andrew Jackson. Col. Jackson 
gave it to J. H. Baker, who presented it to the Association. 

14. The Land Grant, dated 1830, with Jackson's signature. 
Presented by Mrs. Fannie Patterson Taliaferro, of Huntsville, 
Ala., daughter of Gen. Benjamin Patterson, a warm friend of 
Jackson. Presented through Mrs. W. H. Selph. 

15. Glass knobs, with the following tag: "Taken from the 
Hermitage dining-room in May, 1880, by a vandal who feared 
neither God, nor regarded man. Returned by request of a young 
lady who witnessed the act." 

16. Address to citizens of Connecticut by Andrew Jackson, by 
Charles F. Thayer, of Norwich, Conn. 

1 7. Walking cane of Jackson. 

18. Letters and invitations presented by Mrs. Dorris. 

19. Scrap book presented by Mrs. Dorris. 


For thirty years the Hermitage was the political center of the 
United States, and Andrew Jackson was the most influential man 
of his party. Many visitors, political and otherwise, were con- 
stantly being received by Gen. Jackson. This office was used for 
all business. 

The books are those that constituted Gen. Jackson's library 
and the bookcases were his own. The books are works of fiction, 
travel, poems, history, Chinese works, medical and other mis- 
cellaneous books, comprising 450 volumes. 

1. 2, 3. Cherry bookcases. 

4. Mahogany bookcase. 

5. The walnut office desk, used constantly when he was a prac- 
ticing attorney. Interesting, having a niunber of secret drawers. 

6. Ciulains that formerly belonged to the upstairs bedrooms. 

7. Chair, presented to Jackson by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney. 

8. Chair, made from the wood of the frigate. Constitution, pre- 
sented to Levi Woodbury, Secretary of the Navy, 1837; Secretary 
of the Treasiuy, 1834, to March — 1837, during the administration 

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344 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb Histc«y 

of President Jackson. Presented to the Hermitage by Miss EUen 
C. Woodbury, daughter of Levi Woodbiuy, in 1900. 
9. Table of mahogany. 

10. Case, made ot historic wood taken from the old building first 
used as a State House in Nashville, 1812-1815. The case was 
made to protect the bound columns of newspapers of Jackson's 
day. Wood given by Mrs. Jennie C. Buntin. 

11. Steel engraving of George Washington. 

12. Certificates of membership in the Hibernian Society of 

13. Steel engraving of Jackson. 

14. Steel engraving of William IV. 

15. Oil painting of the monument of Chalmette. Presented 
by Mrs. Mary L. Baxter. 

16. 17. Brass candlesticks. 

18. Invalid chair presented to Gen. Jackson by the mechanics 
of Nashville. 

19. Old map of New Hampshire. 

20. Mahogany candle stand, upon which Gen. Jackson alwa>'s 
opened his mail. 

21. Pair bronze lamps. 

22. Cut glass celande or hurricane shade. 

23. Mahogany table, with marble top; mate in Mrs. Jackson's 

24. Mahogany chair. 

25. Old newspapers, bound, of Jackson's time, presented by 
Mrs. Lawrence. 


This room was used in Gen. Jackson's time as a nursery for his 
adopted son and for the adopted son's children. Not being able 
to find the original furniture, in 1911 the Regent, Miss Louise 
G. Lindsley, converted it into a museum, and this room has be- 
come one of the most interesting rooms in this historic house. 

1. Jackson's veto message. 

2. Jefferson's letter. 

3. Inaugural message of 1833, on satin. Presented by Mrs. 
Kindall Stickney, of Monrovia, Cal. 

4. The Boston Tea Party. Presented by C. F. Gunther, of 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 345 

5. Gen. Jackson's farewell address. Printed on white satin, 
was carried as a banner in his funeral procession in Nashville. 
He died in 1845. Presented by Mrs. Wm. W. Bell, of Chicago. 

6. Blue prints showing the battlefield of Chalmette at New 
Orleans. Blue print operations at New Orleans. Both presented 
by the Hon. John Wesley Gaines. 

8. Equestrian statue of Jackson. This picture hung in Presi- 
dent James K. Polk's room at the White House, Washington, D. C. 
Presented by Mrs. George William Fall. 

9. Picttu'e of Sam Houston. 

10. Pictm-e of Thomas H. Benton. 

11. Photograph showing the four sides of the sarcophagus of 
the Emperor Alexandier Severus, which was brought by Commo- 
dore Elliott on the ship "Constitution" from Syria. Presented 
to the Ladies' Hermitage Association, February 18th, 1911, by 
Secretary of War, Jacob McGavock Dickinson. 

12. Letter of Commodore Elliott, presenting the sarcophagus 
of Emperor Severus to General Jackson. 

13. Gen. Jacksons letter declining the same. These two pre- 
sented by the Hon. John Wesley Gaines. 

14. Steel engraving of Jackson. Copy of Dodge's miniature. 
Presented by Mr. and Mrs. John C. Kennedy. 

15. Framed Declaration of Independence. 

16. Badge of the Ladies' Hermitage Association. 

17. Battle of New Orleans. Presented by C. F. Gunther, of 

18. Certificate of membership in the Ladies' Hermitage Asso- 

19. Map of the Hermitage plat of twenty-five acres. 

20. Steel engraving of Judge John Overton, lifelong friend and 
aw partner of Andrew Jackson. Presented by his granddaughter, 
Mrs. J. M. Dickinson. 

21. Souvenir of concert given in Washington, D. C, under the 
patronage of Mrs. John G. Carlisle, netting $600.00 to the Asso- 
ciation's treasiu'y. 

22. Old land grant. 

23. Picttu'e of Jackson, copied from one hanging in the office 
of Secretary of State at Washington. Presented by the Hon. John 
Wesley Gaines. 

24. Picture of Jackson at the Hermitage in 1830. 

25. Picture of Jackson. 

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346 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

26. Diploma of Honorable Mention given to the Ladies' Hermi- 
tage Association at the exposition in 1897 of the Tennessee Centen- 

27. Death of Pakenham, presented by C. F. Gunther, of Chicago. 

28. Letter presenting the phaeton made from the timbers of 
the old Constitution. See the carriage house. 

29. Oil painting of the Hermitage Church. Built by Gen. 
Jackson in 1823, that his wife might have church privileges near 
the Hermitage. Painted by Cornelius Hankins and presented 
to the Association. 

30. Picture of Jackson. 

31. Oil painting of old historic cabin as it was when the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association took possession of the place. Presented 
by Cornelius Hankins. 

32. First Message of Andrew Jackson to Congress, on silk, pre- 
sented by Mrs. Kendall Stickney, Monrovia, Cal. 

33. Engraving of the Hermitage in 1855. 

34. Picture and engraving of Jackson. 

35. Lace cap of Mrs. Rachel Jackson. 

36. Case of souvenirs of President Roosevelt's visit in October, 
1907. Special register, with autograph signature, and cup from 
which he drank his coflfee, handed to him by Mrs. Rachel Jackson 

37. Door-scraper, one of the pair used at the front of the house. 

38. Cannon ball cast for the war of 1812. 

39. The regalia used by Gen. Jackson on the annxial reimion 
at New Orleans. 

40. Letter to Gen. Jackson from Bishop Council, Roman Cath- 
olic Bishop of Philadelphia, written when he was in Rome, con- 
taining a picture of Pope Leo XH. 

41. Lace veil that was intended for Mrs. Rachel Jackson to 
wear at the inauguration of her distinguished husband in 1829. 
Mrs. Jackson died December 22, 1828. This veil was presented 
by the ladies of Cincinnati. Each letter in the name of Jackson 
is made into an exquisite and different pattern of lace. Just above 
the name are 24 stars, representing the 24 States. In the center 
is the emblem of peace. This veil was inherited by Miss Mary 
Wilcox from her grandmother, Mrs. Andrew J. Donelson, whose 
husband was Andrew Jackson's private secretary. Miss Wilcox 
presented it to the Tennessee Woman's Historical Association. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnessbb History 347 

They presented it to the Ladies' Hennitage Association with the 
consent of Miss Wilcox. 

42. Old block house built in 1835 near Benton, Tenn., on the 
Hilderbrandt farm. Presented by Mrs. P. H. Manlove. 

43. View of Monticello. 

44. Old Holland House in Shelbyville, where Jackson danced 
at a ball in 1824. 

45. Mrs. Rachel Jackson. 

46. Medallion bust of Jackson. Presented to the Association 
dtuing our Centennial Exposition by Miss Eleanor Wheatley, the 
artist, of Memphis, Tennessee. 

47. Glass case, letters and papers of Gen. Jackson. 

48. An old print of Andrew Jackson. Presented by Mr. John 
Boyle, of Washington, D. C, through Hon. John Wesley Gaines. 

contents of glass cask. 

1. The ledger and account books kept at Hunter's Hill and 
Clover Bottom. 

2. Silver spoon; the handles were moulded into the Coltunbia 
Liberty Bell, one of which is from a set of Jackson's spoons, 
and the other belongs to a set of Felix Grundy's. 

3. Small Liberty Bell made from the overflow of the Columbia 
Liberty Bell. These bells were purchased by patriotic associa- 
tions, to be rung on patriotic occasions. 

4. Candlestick used by Jackson at the Masonic Lodge in Galla- 
tin. Presented to the Association by Col. Thomas H. Boyers. 

5. Sword used by Gen. John Coflfee at the battle of New Orleans. 

6. Sword captured at the battle of New Orleans in 1815 by Gen* 
Jackson. Presented to the Association by Armond Hawkins at 
the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897. 

7. Cannon sight. Presented by Capt. E. W. Averall. Used 
at the battle of New Orleans in 1815. 

8. Wood from the old dining-room floor. 

9. Curious lock from one of the doors in the house. 

10. Penholder from Mt. Vernon. Presented by Mrs. Addie 
C. Benson. 

11. United States silk flag. Souvenir of the ball given Janu- 
ary 8, 1893. It was purchased then by Mr. E. P. Baldwin, the 
Arctic explorer. Carried by him to North Greenland and placed 
by him in the hand of Baby Peary, daughter of Lieut. Peary, Janu- 
ary 8, 1896, and presented by Mr. Baldwin to the Assodatiou. 

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348 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 

12. Fragments of the bridge from Fort Barancas, Fla. 

13. Hair of Gen. Jackson. 

14. Letters, papers, etc. 

15. Pieces of marble from the original tomb of Mary Washing- 
ton, the comer stone of which was laid by Jackson in 1833. Pre- 
sented by Mrs. Walter B. Palmer. 

16. Rifle ornamented with plates of German silver. Beauti- 
fully chased. Was given by the Hermitage family in 1861, when 
a call was made for gims for the Southern Confederacy. Pur- 
chased at Clarksville, Tenn., by a Federal soldier, whose son sold 
it to Mrs. B. F. Wilson, who presented it to the Association. 

17. Blade of sword presented to Andrew Jackson by the city 
of New Orleans, and bequeathed at his death to Col. Andrew Jack- 
son Coflfee, son of Gen. Coflfee. This was a magnificent sword, 
its blade being made of gold and studded with precious stones. 
Unfortunately, it was mutilated during the Civil War while in 
possession of Col. Coffee's mother near Florence, Ala., when her 
home and its contents were burned. Presented by the Hon. 
Alexander Donelson Coflfee, son of Gen. Coflfee. 

18. Missoiu*i Gazette, published in 1809. Over 100 years old. 

19. Niles' Weekly Register, published March 4, 1815. 

20. Case used by Gen. LaFayette for his toilet articles while 
on his visit to Nashville and the Hermitage. Nos. 18, 19 and 20 
were presented by Mrs. Stephen Driver. 

21. Invitation to barbecue given Secretary of War Jacob Mc- 
Gavock Dickinson, June 1910, and hand-painted place card. Pre- 
sented by Miss Louise G. Lindsley. 

22. Letter of Gen. Jackson written from Washington while Presi- 
dent of the United States. Presented by Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson. 

23. Letter written July 25, 1833, establishing the date of the 
erection of the tomb. Presented by Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson. 

24. Letter written by Jackson, March 19, 1837, on board the 
William Wirt. 

25. Letter written by Jackson, March 20, 1837, from Louisville.' 
These last two letters describe his return trip at the close of his 
Presidential administration, which was made by steamboat. Also 
his reception along the route. These letters were written to his 
private secretary, Maj. Andrew Jackson Donelson, whom he reared 
and educated as his nephew and ward. Also a letter verifying 
the purchase of the Decatur silver. The above letters were pre- 
sented by Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 349 

26. "The Life and Times of Andrew Jackson/' by CoL A. S. 
Colyar. Presented by his daughter, Mrs. Lila Colyar Thompson. 

27. Pieces of china from set used by Gen. Jackson. Presented 
by Mrs. Andrew Jackson III. 

28. Picture of the Hermitage before it was burned. Presented 
by Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson. 

29. President Jackson's contract with his cook. Presented by 
Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson. 

30. Gen. Jackson's vest worn by him in 1840. Presented by 
Mrs. Elizabeth Eamshaw. 

31 . Lamp one hundred years old. Same used in Gen. Jackson's 
time. Presented by Mrs. W. A. Hargis. 

32. Letter presented by Mrs. Leonard K. Whitworth, who in- 
herited it from her grandfather, Dr. William K. Bowling. 

33. A bill for repairs on additions to the house and a letter in 
which is described the Temple Monument to be erected over the 
grave of Mrs. Jackson. 

34. A British dragoon flint-lock holster pistol, found on Jack- 
son's battlefield at New Orleans in 1850, and presented by W. E. 

35. Cavalry sabre, captured at the battle of New Orleans, bear- 
ing the coat of arms of the English Government and the initials 
G. R. (George Rex IH). Presented by W. E. Metzer. 

36. Lancet presented by Mrs. Lawrence. 

37. A United States cutlass used by the American brig Carolina 
in the fight against the British, 1814-1815, under Gen. Jackson. 


Earl's bedroom is located at the head of the back stairway. 
Earl was for a number of years a member of Gen. Jackson's house- 
hold. He married one of Mrs. Rachel Jackson's nieces, was soon 
left a widow, and never remarried. His grave is near Gen. Jack- 
son's. He was called *' Portrait Painter to the King," from his 
fondness for painting Jackson. His portraits are among the best 
of Jackson. He came from a family of artists, his father being 
a pupil of Sir Benjamin West. 

1. One of the original mahogany bedsteads. 

2. ChiflFonier of Jackson's. 

3. Washstand of Jackson's. 

4. Three views of the Hermitage and grounds used at World's 
Coltunbian Exposition. 

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350 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbsssb History 

5. Picture of Judge John Meredith Read, Chief Justice of Penn- 
sylvania, a friend of Jackson. Presented by his son. 

6. The Hermitage Daughter of Florida. Died in 1899. 

7. Portrait of Col. Jeremiah George Harris. Purser of the Navy. 
Editor National Union. Presented by Mrs. Van S. Lindsley, 
his daughter. 

8. Brass fender. The matting on the floor and muslin ctutains 
were similar to those always used at the Hermitage. 

9. Old damask and lace curtains. 

10. Old-fashioned ewer. 

11. Old map. 

12. Old mirror with view of Monticello. 


The furniture of this room, of handsome rosewood, was pur- 
chased when Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence was married in 1852. 
Was at the Hermitage more than forty years. It consists of: 

1. Rosewood bedstead. 

2. Bureau. 

3. Wardrobe. 

4. Washstand. 

5. Table, top of Egyptian marble. 

6. Glass cover for wax flowers or vase. 

7. Deathbed of Napoleon. Lithograph. 


The walls are covered with the hand-painted copy of the paper 
on the walls of the lower hall, and was used in the replica of the 
Hermitage, the Tennessee State Building at the Louisiana Pur- 
chase Exposition, St. Louis, 1904. The work was done by Miss 
Mary Jennings. Presented to the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
by the Tennessee World's Fair Association, Maj. E. B. Stahlman, 

1. Jackson's old cedar chest. 

2. Standard for letters and newspaper clippings. 

3. Letters to Jackson from D. Morrison, contractor, concerning 
additions to the house and the erection of * 'Temple Tomb." Pre- 
sented by Mrs. P. H. Manlove. 

4. Letter written by Jackson to Andrew Jackson Donelson, his 
ward, then in school at Lexington, Ky. Presented by Mrs. P. H. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 351 

thb gubst-chambbr. 

1. Mahogany bed. 

2. Mahogany bed. The Association possesses six of the eight 
solid mahogany beds purchased when the house was refurnished 
in 1835. The other two were destroyed. 

3. Cedar chest. 

4. Mahogany wardrobe. 

5. Oil portrait of Jackson, evidently a copy from Healy's of 
some unknown artist. 

6. Twin children of Sen^itor N. P. Talmage, of New York, 
named Andrew Jackson and Rachel Jackson Talmage. Presented 
to the President in gratitude for services rendered. Was at the 
White House and Hermitage ; always placed in the nursery. Was 
much damaged and restored by the L. H. A. 

7. Wire and brass fender. 

8. Washstand. 

9. Hair trunk. 

10. Pictiu-es of Jackson. 


In which LaFayette was entertained in 1825. 

The fimiiture of this room was used in the Jackson room in 
the replica of the Herinitage at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 
St. Louis, 1904. It is all genuine Jackson fiuniture. 

1. One of Jackson's old mirrors for this bedroom. 

2. Fender. 

3. Brass andirons. 

4. Curtains. 

5. Steps to bed. 

6. Mahogany bed. 

7. Dresser. 

8. Chiflfonier. 

9. Portrait of Mrs. Jackson, presented to the Association by 
Mrs. Ellen Call Long, whose father, Gen. Call, eloped with his 
beautiful bride, Miss Mary Kirkman, and was married at the Her- 
mitage. This portrait, and also one of the General, were given 
to the young couple as a bridal present. 

10. Wardrobe. 

11. Old fashioned shaving stand on chi£fonier. All curtains 
and matting such as were used at the Hermitage during the sum- 
mer months. 

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352 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbe History 

12. Vases on mantel. 

13. Chair. 


1. The **01d Hickory" or January 8 mantel, made of bits of 
hickory worked upon alone on the 8th of January of successive 
years. Presented to Gen. Jackson in 1839. It has been nearly 
destroyed by relic hunters. 

2. Original dining table, at which seven Presidents were in 
turn entertained, viz.: James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Martin 
Van Buren, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, James K. Polk, 
Millard Fillmore. President Roosevelt made the eighth. 

3. Original solid mahogany sideboard. Was always filled with 
the handsomest silver and cut glass, much of which is still preserved 
in the family. 

4. Mahogany side table. 

5. Pier table, mate to the one in the hall. 

6. Old table similar to Jackson's. Presented by Mrs. Mary 
C. Dorris. 

7. Brass andirons. 

8. Shovel and tongs. Presented by Misses Annie, Mattie and 
Grace Handley. 

9. Clock. 

10. One of the Earl Portraits of Jackson, presented to the Asso- 
ciation by the Woman's Democratic Clubs of Monmouth, Illinois. 
# 11. The celebrated Healy portrait, only two of which are in 
existence, the other hanging in the Louvre at Paris. Painted 
eight days before Jackson's death. 

12. Healy, the artist of the above portrait, sent by Louis Philippe 
to paint prominent Americans. 

13. Candelabra. 

14. The case was ptu^chased for the preservaton of the valuable 
Jackson-Decatur silver. The silver consists of sixteen round and 
oval dishes, which were ptu-chased by Jackson from the widow 
of Commodore Decatur, and used constantly for years at the 

15. Case of silver knives and forks. 

16. Silver wine cooler. 

17. Silver cup over 100 years old, marked A. J. 

18. Mate to above cup, marked R. J. Purchased through 
eflForts of Col. John Allison. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 353 

19. Silver cake basket. 

20. Bohemian cut gla^ decanter. 

21. Portrait of Gen. Andrew Jackson. 

22. Portrait of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, wife of Gen. Jackson. 

23. Portrait of John Donelson, one of the pioneers, brother 
of Mrs. Rachel Jackson. 

24. Portrait of Mary Pumell, wife of John Donelson. 

25. Portrait of Col. John Coflfee, afterwards Gen. CoflFee, on 
Jackson's staff at the battle of New Orleans. 

26. Portrait of Mary Donelson, daughter of the above John 
Donelson, neice of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, and wife of Gen. CoflFee. 
Portraits were presented to the Ladies' Hermitage Association 
by Hon. Alexander Donelson CoflFee, son of Gen. CoflFee. 

27. Six mahogany chairs of Jackson's. Adjoining the dining- 
room is the pantry, and fiulher to the rear the store-room A 
passageway leads directly to the old kitchen. ^ 


The restoration of the old kitchen to its old-time glory of 
yawning chimney-piece, its cranes and pot hooks, its ovens and 
skillets, its candle moulds, and spinning wheels, brings back rem- 
iniscences of **Betty" and the old regime of Jackson's day. 

1. Spinning wheel, 100 years old. Presented by Andrew 
Jackson Baker, the curator's son. 

2. Reel, 100 years old. Presented by Andrew Baker. 

3. Oven. Presented by Mrs. W. J. McMurray. 

4. Candle moulds. Several sets. Presented by Miss Louise 
Baxter, Mrs. W. J. McMurray, Mrs. M. A.Spurr and Mrs. George 
L. Cowan. 

5. Pot-hooks. Used in Revolutionary War. Presented by 
Miss Louise Baxter. 

6. Flax-hacker. Over 100 years old. Presented by Miss 
Louise G. Lindsley. 

7. Some of the original kitchen utensils. Presented by Mrs. 
Andrew Jackson HI. 

8. Pot-hook. Presented by Miss Louise G. Lindsley. 

9. Old-fashioned water cooler. Always used in the pantry. 

10. Old foot-scraper at foot of back steps, used by Gen. Jack- 
son at his law oflSce in the City of Nashville. 

11. Chum of Jackson's. Loaned by Miss Emma HoflFstetter. 


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354 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

12. Spinning stick for old wheel. Presented by Mrs. S. M. 


A remnant of days long gone by, when the smokehouse was 
the most important house on a plantation. 

THE carriage HOUSE. 

In 1^97 Col. Andrew Jackson, from whom most of the relics 
have been purchased, sold to the Association the interesting old 
State coach used by Jackson at the White House for all State 
ceremonial and social purposes and for several trips to the Her- 
mitage. The trip to the Hermitage took thirty days' time. His 
final trip, when returning to end his life as a private citizfen, was 
a continual ovation. 

The skeleton of the phaeton is all that is left of the beautiful 
vehicle presented to Gen. Jackson by the "Democratic-Republican" 
citizens of Philadelphia. It was made from timbers taken from 
the old ship Constitution. It was burned at a fire in Cincinnati, 
where Colonel Jackson was living and had his relics stored. The 
letter of presentation hangs in the museum. 

StoUe doorstep, now in front of carriage house. Presented 
to Col. W. W. Parks by Gen. Jackson. Presented to the Ladies' 
Hermitage Association by his granddaughters, Misses Annie and 
Grace Handley. 


The tomb was built by Gen. Jackson long before his death, 
and was erected over his wife, with the vault left for himself. 
The inscriptions are: 


Bom March 15, 1767. 
Died June 8, 1845. 

"Here lie the remains of Mrs. .Rachel Jackson, wife of President 
Jackson, who died the 22d of December, 1828, age 61 years. Her 
face was fair, her person pleasing, her temper amiable, her heart 
kind; she delighted in relieving the want of her fellow creatures, 
and cultivated that divine pleasure by the most liberal and un- 
pretending methods; to the poor she was a benefactor; to the 
rich an example; to the wretched a comforter; to the prosperous 
an ornament; her piety went hand in hand with her benevolence, 
and she thanked her Creator for being permitted to do good. A 
being so gentle and so virtuous slander might woimd, but could 
not dishonor. Even Death, when he bore her from the arms of 
her husband, could but transport her to the bosom of her God." 

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oH^^^HB^BS^ ^"^^^^KHR 


1^ .- 4:. ^;-^ 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennbssbb History 355 

The other graves m the plat are those of the adopted son, 
Andrew Jackson, Jr., and his wife, Mrs. Sarah Yorke Jackson. 
Two infant children lie buried there; also one son, Samuel Jackson, 
who was killed at Chickamauga; the grave of Dr. John M. Law- 
rence, who married Rachel, the pet and idol of the old General's 
life, is on the plat; also their daughter, Mrs. C. W. Winn. The 
grave of Col. R. E. W. Earle, friend and companion of Jackson, 
is there. Ftuther apart from the other graves is that of Mrs. 
Marion Adams, the widowed sister of Mrs. Sarah Jackson, who 
always resided with her, and whose family was reared at the Her- 
mitage. On December 19, 1906, Col. Andrew Jackson, grandson, 
was laid beside his kindred dust in the garden. The grave of 
old Uncle Alfred, who so much desired to be biu*ied near Gen. 
Jackson, is located to the north of the tomb. 

genuineness of the reucs. 

That there might be no question raised as to genuineness of 
the relics purchased, the Association has obtained from Col. 
Jackson and his sister, Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence, the follow- 
ing aflSdavit: 

**To Whom It May Concern: 

**This is to certify that all the articles of furniture or relics pur- 
chased by the Ladies* Hermitage Association from Mrs. Rachel 
Jackson Lawrence, granddaughter, and Col. Andrew Jackson, 
grandson, of Gen. Jackson, are the identical pieces of fiunittu'e 
owned and used by Gen. Jackson dining his hfetime. They were 
in the Hermitage when Gen. Jackson dded, and were there when 
the Ladies' Hermitage Association took possession in 1889. The 
entire collection was removed in 1893, when Col. Jackson left 
the Hermitage, and have been restored from time to time as the 
Association was able to purchase them. 

"The articles restored up to the present time, March 1900, 
are those in Gen. Jackson's bedroom, which is complete as it was 
the day he died; the library, or office, entire; the hall entire; and 
all furniture now in the diningroom and parlors. 

'*col. andrew jackson, 
(seal.) Rachel Jackson Lawrence." 

Sworn to and subscribed before me, this March 13, 1900. 

R. S. Cowan, Notary Public. 

Since 1900 many more pieces of the Jackson fumittu-e and 
relics have been purchased and restored to the Hermitage, until 
it is well furnished, every room being filled with beautiful and 
handsome things of historic interest. 

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356 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 


Andrew Jackson — ^Presentation of His Sword to 



Monday, February 26, 1855. 
Mr. Shields, of Illinois, rose and said: 

**Mr. President: The hour has arrived which has been desig- 
nated for a very interesting ceremony. It is one in which ladies 
take as deep an interest as gentlemen, but the crowded state of 
the galleries excludes many of them from the Chamber. A motion 
to suspend the rule which limits admissions to the floor, so that 
those who are now excluded may be permitted to be present, I 
think will meet with general acceptance; and, therefore, I submit 
that motion." 

The motion was agreed to; and many ladies were admitted 
to seats without the bar. 

Mr. Cass, of Michigan, then addressed the Senate as follows: 

'*Mr. President: I must ask the indulgence of the Senate 
for requesting that its usual business may be suspended, in order 
to give me an opportunity to discharge a trust which has been 
committed to me, a trust I had not the heart to decline, but which 
I knew I had not the power to fulfill as such a mission should 
be fulfilled. I hold in my hand the sword of General Jackson, 
which he wore in all his expeditions while in the military service 
of the coimtry, and which was his faithful companion Jn his last 
and crowning victory, when New Orleans was saved from the 
grasp of a rapacious and powerful enemy, and our nation from 
the disgrace and disaster which defeat would have brought in its 

"When the hand of death was upon him. General Jackson pre- 
sented this sword to his friend, the late General Armstrong, as a tes- 
timonial of his high appreciation of the services, worth, and cotu^age 
of that most estimable citizen and distinguished soldier, whose 
desperate valor on one occasion stayed the tide of Indian success 
and saved the army from destruction. The family of the lamented 
depositary, now that death has released him from the guardian- 
ship of this treastire of patriotism, are desirous it should be surren- 
dered to the custody of the national legislattu'e, beUeving that to 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 357 

be the proper disposition of a memorial which, in all time to come, 
will be a cherished one for the American people. To carry that 
purpose into effect I now offer it in their name to Congress. 

"Mr. President, this is no doubtful reHc, whose identity depends 
upon certain tradition, and which owes its interest to an impulsive 
imagination. Its authenticity is established beyond controversy 
by the papers which accompany it; and it derives its value as 
well from our knowledge of its history, as from its association 
with the great captain, whose days of toil and nights of trouble 
it shared and witnessed, and who never drew it from its scabbard 
but to defend the honor and the interests of his country. 

"This is neither the time nor the place to portray those great 
traits of character which gave General Jackson the ascendency 
that no man ever denied who approached him, and that wonderfid 
influence with his countrymen which marked almost his whole 
course, from his entrance upon a public career till the grave closed 
upon his life and his labors, and left him to that equality which 
the mighty and the lowly must find at last. Still, from my per- 
sonal and official relations with him — and I trust I may#add from 
his friendship towards me, of which I had many proofs — I can- 
not withhold the acknowledgment of the impression which his high 
qualities made upon me, and which becomes more lasting and 
profound as time is doing its work of separation from days of 
my intercourse with him. 

"I have been no careless observer of the men of my time, who, 
controlled by events, or controlling them, have stood prominent 
among them, and will occupy distinguished positions in the annals 
of the age; and circumstances have extended my opportunities 
of examination to the Old World, as well as to the New. But 
I say, and with a deep conviction of its truth, that I have never 
been brought into contact with a man who possessed more native 
sagacity, more profundity of intellect, higher powers of observa- 
tion or greater probity oi piupose, more ardor or patriotism, nor 
more firmness of resolution, after he had siuveyed his position 
and occupied it, than the lamented subject of this feeble tribute, 
not to him, but to truth. And I will add, that, diuing the process 
of determination upon important subjects, he was sometimes slow, 
and generally cautious and inquiring, and, he has more than once 
told me, anxious and imeasy, not seldom passing the night without 
sleep; but he was calm in his mind, and inflexible in his will, when 
reflection had given place to decision. The prevailing opinion 
that he was rash and hasty in his conclusions is founded upon on 
erroneous impression of his habits of thought and action; upon* a 
want of discrimination between his conduct before and after his 
judgment had pronounced upon his course. 

"This is not the first offering of a similar nature which 
has been laid upon the altar of our country with the sanction of 
the legislative department of the government. Some years since 
another precious relic was deposited here — the sword of him, who. 

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358 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

in life, was first in the affections of his cotmtrymen, and in death 
is now the first in their memory. I need not name his name. It 
is written in characters of Uving light on every heart, and springs 
instinctively to every tongue. His fame is committed to time, 
his example to manldnd, and himself, we may humbly hope, to 
the reward of the righteous. When centuries shall have passed 
over us, bringing with them the mutations that belong to the lapse 
of ages, and our country shall yet be fulfilling, or shall have ful- 
filled, her magnificent destiny for good, I devoutly hope, stnd 
not for evil — ^pilgrims from our ocean coasts and our inland seas, 
and from the vast regions which now separate, but before long 
by our wonderful progress must tmite them, will come up to the 
high places of our land, consecrated by days and deeds of world- 
wide renown; and, tmning aside to the humble tomb, dearer than 
this proud Capitol, they will meditate upon the eventful history 
of their country, and will recall the example while they bless the 
name of Washington. 

"And, on the same occasion, was presented the cane of Franbxin, 
which was deposited in our national archives with the sword of 
his friend and co-laborer in the great cause of human lights. 
Truly and beautifully has it been said, that peace hath its victories 
as well as war. And never was nobler conquest won than that 
achieved by the American apprentice, printer, author, statesman, 
ambassador, philosopher, and, better than all, model of common 
sense, over one of the most powerful elements in the economy 
of nature, subduing its might to his own, and thus enabling man 
to answer the sublime interrogatory addressed to Job, *Cans*t 
thou send lightnings that they may go and say unto thee, here we are ?' 
Yes; they now come at our command, and say, 'Here we are, ready 
to do our work.' And it was our illustrious countryman who first 
opened the way for this subjugation of the fire of heaven to the 
human will. The staff that guided the steps of Frankun, and 
the sword that guarded the person of Washington, may occupy 
the same repository, tmder the care of the nation they served and 
loved and honored. 

"Andnow another legacy of departed greatness, another weapon 
from the armory of patriotism, comes to claim its place in the 
sanctuary assigned to its predecessor, and to share with it the 
veneration of the country, in whose defence it was wielded. 

**The memorial of the first and greatest of our Chief Magistrates, 
and this memorial of his successor in the administration of the 
government, and second only to him in the gratitude and affections 
of the American people, wiU lie side by side, united tokens of pa- 
triotic self-devotion and of successful military prowess, though 
they who bore them and gave them value by their services are now 
tenants of distant and lowly graves, separated by mountains, and 
rivers and valleys. And in ages shut out from our vision by the 
far away future, when remote generations, heirs of our heritage 
of freedom, but succeeding to it without the labor and the priva- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 359 

tions of acqtiisition, shall gaze (as they will gaze) upon these testi- 
monials of victories, time-worn but time-honored, they will be 
carried back by association to those heroes of early story, and will 
find their love of country strengthened, and their pride in her 
institutions and their confidence in her fate and fortunes increased 
by this powerful faculty of the mind — a faculty which enables 
us to triumph over the distant and the future, as well as over the 
stem realities of the present, gathering around us the mighty dead . 
and the mighty deeds that excite the admiration of mankind, and 
will ever command their respect and gratitude. And thus will 
commimion be held with the great leaders of our cotmtry, in war 
and in peace, who wore these swords in their service, and hallowed 
them by their patriotism, their valor and success. 

I will now read to the Senate two letters connected with the 
circimistances of this presentation, one from Mr. Nicholson and 
the other from Mr. Vaulx, the son-in-law of the late General Arm- 


"Nashville, February 7, 1885. 

"Dear Sir: Doctor W. S. McNairy left here a few days ago 
for Washington, having in charge the sword that General Jackson 
before his death gave to General Armstrong. The Doctor was 
requested by William M. Armstrong (in whose keeping it had been 
left by his father) to hand it over to you on his arrival in Washing- 
ton. You, I believe, were present at the time General Armstrong 
had the honor of having it presented to him by his distinguished 
friend. It is the sword worn by General Jackson in his various 
campaigns and during the whole time he remained in the military 
service of his country. It is, therefore, justly regarded as a relic 
of great value. It was General Armstrong's wish that it should 
be placed at the disposal of Congress, or the government, with a 
view to its being deposited in a suitable place, where, doubtless, 
millions of General Jackson's admiring countrymen will in time 
to come gladly look on it as the war-sword of one whose brilliant 
services in the cause of his coimtry place his name in bold relief 
on the historic page of oiu- beloved country. 

"No person, I believe, would have been preferred to yom-self 
by General Armstrong as the medium for presenting the sword 
to Congress, or the government; which, at the request of his son, 
you wiU please do in such terms as you may deem proper. 

"I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
"Hon. A. O. P. Nicholson. Joseph Vaulx.'* 


"Washington, February 13, 1855. 

"Dear Sir: A short time before the death of General Jackson, 
I received a note from him inviting me to visit him for a special 

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360 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb History 

purpose. I did so, and found that, amongst other things, he de- 
sired to put into my hands the sword which he had used at the 
battle of New Orleans, for the piupose of deUvering it to the late 
General Robert Armstrong, as a testimonial of warm personal 
friendship, and as an evidence of his high appreciation of his 
military services and his patriotic devotion to the honor of his 
country. I deUvered the sword as requested, and it was kept 
.by General Armstrong during his life. Since his death, his fam- 
ily have concluded that the most proper disposition they could 
make of it would be to present it to Congress, to be kept as a 
perpetual memento of the brilliant achievement with which it is 
connected. For this purpose the sword has been forwarded to 
me with the request that I would present it to Congress in the 
name of General Armstrong's family. It has occurred to me that 
I could not more appropriately discharge this trust than to place 
the sword in your hands, and to ask that you will present it in 
such a way as you may deem most proper. The known relations, 
in public and private, between General Jackson and yourself, as 
well as yom* constant friendship for General Armstrong, seem to 
me to render it eminently fit that the presentation should be 
made by you. I therefore place the sword at yom* disposal, and 
respectfully request that you would undertake to carry out the 
wishes of the donors. 

''I am, most respectfully, your friend, 

"A. O. P. Nicholson. 
"Gen. Lewis Cass." 

Mr. Bell, of Tennessee: 

*'Mr. President: I am fully aware that, in undertaking to 
accompany the offer of the resolution which I propose to send 
to the Chair with any remarks upon the public services and charac- 
ter of the illustrious man whose name and whose memory have 
been so eloquently and appropriately brought to om* notice by 
the distinguished Senator from Michigan, I assume an office of 
great deUcacy, and one which I, especially, may well have some 
distrust of my ability to perform in a proper and satisfactory man- 
ner; yet, as the senior representative of the State of Tennessee in 
the Senate, I do not feel at liberty to decline it. 

**In what I propose to say, I must tread with caution and reserve, 
or not at all upon the grounds on which the fires of political con- 
troversy raged with such fierceness at a period so recent that the 
embers yet smoulder, and may not prudently be distm-bed. 

"In the great drama of affairs now being enacted on this 
continent, the opening act of which was the Revolution — ^the 
closing scenes, I trust, will be in the far, far future — ^Andrew 
Jackson, was, in his day, a great and successful actor. Whatever 
difference of opinion may have existed among his comtemporaries 
of the merit of some parts of his performance, yet, as a whole. 

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Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennesseb History 361 

it received the plaudits of his countrymen, and a large proportion 
of them pronoimced it masterly throughout. 

"General Jackson possessed rare endowments, and was, indeed, 
one of the most, if not the most remarkable man of the age in which 
he lived. With but sUght and indifferent mental or professional 
training and discipline in early life, so generally regarded as im- 
portant, if not essential, to eminent success in either of the two 
great departments of human effort, the civil and the military, 
yet, at the very outset of his miUtary career he exhibited talents 
for command of a high order, and in less than three years, by his 
brilliant achievements, established his reputation as the first mili- 
tary chief of the country. But this is not all. Retiring from the 
army when there appeared to be no further demand for active 
service, he was in a few years thereafter elevated to the highest 
civil station under the national government; and for eight success- 
ive years he wielded the power and influence of his position as 
Executive Chief with such vigor and address, that he was sus- 
tained in, and succeeded in carrying out, all the great measures 
of his administration, some of them presenting questions of the 
gravest nature, and giving rise to the most intense excitement, 
and this, too, in the face of an opposition combining an amount 
of ability, eloquence, skill, and experience in affairs, in both houses 
of Congress, but more especially in the Senate, greater than was 
was ever witnessed before or since. The jars and contentions 
between those great moral elements were, sometimes, such as shook 
the whole country. 

"A man who, having addicted his early manhood mainly to the 
pursuits of private Hfe, without any appreciable culture or ex- 
perience in pubHc affairs, could thus, when there arose a public 
exigency of sufficient urgency to induce him to enter the pubHc 
service, per saltum, as it were, raise himself to the first rank as 
a military leader, and then, for so long a period, as Chief Magis- 
trate of a great and free coimtry, thus direct and control its civil 
administration, must be allowed to have possessed great capacity. 
*'His was no negative or unmarked career, no meteorlike appear- 
ance upon the great theatre of affairs, to blaze and dazzle for a 
moment, and then pass away forever; but, both as a military com- 
mander and a civil chief, he left his impress upon his country and 
its institutions deep, striking and indelible. 

"It would be idle to assume, as some have done, that General 
Jackson was indebted alone, or chiefly, to fortune and adventur- 
ous circumstances for his extraordinary success. He was such a 
man, Mr. President, as when he once attained position, had 
the faculty of creating the circumstances, if he needed them, 
necessary to further and continued successes. Posterity will in- 
quire, with eager curiosity, the secret of his amazing success, the 
distinctive traits of mind and of personal character by which he 
achieved it; some of which they will probably seek in vain in the 
pages of contemporary history. 

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362 Andrbw Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

"General Jackson had what may be called an intuitive preception 
of the passions and interests by which the mass of mankind are 
controlled. He was a shrewd observer of individual character, 
and he was seldom mistaken in his estimate of the men with whom 
he associated as friends or came in contact with as opponents. He 
was devoted to his friends; and the more others opposed or de- 
nounced them, the more determined he became to sustain them, 
and never cast them off until they arrayed themselves in open op- 
position to his plans and wishes. Nor was he deficient in coiutesy 
to opponents, not personal enemies, and could even court them 
when he desired or needed their support, but never by fawning or 
unmanly appeals. 

"His self-reliance was wonderful. He never despaired of his 
fortune. As the obstacles to the success of any favorite scheme of 
poUcy multipUed, and the storm of opposition was wildest, it was 
then that one of his most striking traits was exhibited. He be- 
came the soul, the animating principle, of his followers; revived 
their fainting courage, reinspired their confidence in his infalli- 
bility, and cheered them on to renewed and more vigorous efforts. 

"When the emergency required it, no man was more prompt in 
coming to a decision. When the question presented difficulties, 
and admitted of deliberation, he counselled with his friends. When 
his own conviction was clear, he seldom deferred to the views of 
others; and when he once decided upon his course, he was inflexi- 
ble and immovable. He was, emphatically and truly, a man of 
stem resolve and iron will; and, when opposition to the accom- 
plishment of his purposes appeared formidable and discourag^g. 
he was apt to become impatient of the restraints and trammels of 
official and customary routine. He had the courage, both moral 
and physical, to dare and to do whatever he thought proper and 
necessary to the successful issue of whatever he had resolved 
upon. He was withal a patriot, devoted to the honor, dignity and 
glory of his country; and he had the faculty of persuading himself 
that whatever measure or course of policy, either in peace or in 
war, he resolved upon, and strongly desired to accomplish, was 
proper and necessary to the public welfare. 

"No man since the days of Washington was more devoted to the 
union of these States, or would have more cheerfully laid down his 
life to defend and uphold it, than Andrew Jackson. 

"Many have supposed that General Jackson was often controlled 
by passion and resentment, and that he sometimes embraced meas- 
ures and engaged in enterprises without any calculation of the 
chances of success or defeat and reckless of both. There never 
was a greater mistake. This was the error into which the great 
opponents of his measures and policy in the Senate fell; and the 
event showed that he had estimated the elements of his power 
and the true sources of his strength with greater sagacity than 

"When General Jackson made his first essay in the art of war, 

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Andrkw Jackson and Eari^y Tbnnbssbb History 363 

and led the Tennessee Volunteers against a wily foe, formidable 
from their numbers and mode of warfare, many careless observers 
of his early career had their misgivings that a rash valor and his 
eager desire to distinguish himself in arms might result in dis- 
aster and the unnecessary sacrifice of his men; but they were soon 
imdeceived. Those who kAew him best, and knew him well, never 
had any distrust of his discretion as a military commander. 

''But his quaUties as a general, and his powers of combination in 
conducting the operations of any army, were best illustrated and 
put to the severest test in the campaign of 1814-15 in the South. 
It was then that ample scope was given him for the exercise of his 
genius and capacity for military command. 

In 1814 Great Britain by the overthrow of the French Emperor, 
found herself in a condition to employ the whole of her great naval 
and miUtary resources in an effort to humble or to crush the 
United States. The first blow fell upon the shores of the Chesa- 
peake. The seat of the national government fell into the hands of 
the enemy, and the blackened walls of the Capitol gave a warn- 
ing of the ruthless spirit with which the war was thenceforth to be 
conducted. This wound to the national pride was inflicted at a 
time when the public finances and the public credit were at the 
lowest ebb. The recruiting service went on sluggishly, and gave 
no promise of an adequate increase of the regular army; and the 
whole of our extended and almost defenceless seacoast was ex- 
posed to the attacks of the enemy. Rumors soon after reached 
the coimtry that a still more formidable armament was to make 
a descent upon our shores; but where the storm would burst, 
there was no clue to determine. Afterwards a general gloom, not 
without some admixture of despondency, then hung over the 

At a later date it became manifest that the gulf coast was to be 
the scene of operations. Every day the gathering clouds of war 
in that quarter became darker and more portentous. Still, it was 
imcertain upon what particular point the bolt would fall ; but wher- 
ever it might fall on that coast, it was certain that it would be in 
the miUtary department, the protection and defence of which was 
assigned to General Jackson. All eyes and hopes were now turned 
upon him. He had already exhibited such uncommon energy, 
skill, and intrepidity in his conduct of the war against the Creek 
Indians, as to inspire some confidence, when there seemed to be 
scarcely ground for hope. It was known that he had no army in 
the field save two or three regiments of regulars, and a single reg- 
iment of mounted Tennessee Volunteers, and that there were no 
adequate supplies, either of provisions or munitions of war, at any 
point in his command for conducting military operations upon a 
large scale; but never was confidence so well repaid. His energy 
and discretion, and the confidence he inspired, supplied every de- 

''When it became evident that New Orleans was to be the point 

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364 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

of attack, and that the hostile armament had made its appearance 
off the Gulf coast, he called upon the authorities of Kentucky and 
Tennessee to send forward their contingents of mihtia and volun- 
teers with all despatch, as the enemy was approaching. Upon 
the States threatened with invasion he urged the employment of 
all their energies and resources to be in readiness to meet the foe. 
He called, in strains of inspiring eloquence, upon the free colored 
inhabitants of Louisiana to protect their native soil from invasions 
and pollution by a foreign foe. He offered pardon and invoked 
the very pirates who infested the neighboring coast to the rescue. 

"By these energetic steps, General Jackson found assembled 
around him a force of five Uiousand men, of all arms, all save two 
regiments of the regular army, being volunteers and militia men, 
and with this hastily assembled army, on the 8th of January, he 
met, and, in a sanguinary battle, overcame more than double 
their number of veteran troops, led by experienced generals, 
flushed with recent victory on the battlefields of Europe, and 
closed the war in a blaze of glory. 

**Mr. President, the sword worn by the victor on that day, the 
man of stem resolve and iron will, when gazed upon in unborn 
ages will send a thrill through the heart of every true American. 

"I ask the imanimous consent of the Senate to introduce a joint 
resolution accepting the sword of General Andrew Jackson, and 
returning the thanks of Congress to the family of the late General 
Robert Armstrong.'* 

Unanimous consent was given, and the joint resolution was read 
twice, and considered as in Committee of the Whole. It is as fol- 

"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled. That the thanks 
of this Congress be presented to the family of the late General 
Robert Armstrong for the present of the sword worn by General 
Andrew Jackson while in the military service of his country ; and that 
this precious relic be hereby accepted in the name of the nation, 
and be deposited, for safe-keeping, in the Department of State; 
and that a copy of the resolution be transmitted to the family of 
the late General Robert Armstrong.'* 

The joint resolution was reported to the Senate without amend- 
ment and ordered to be engrossed for a third reading. It was 
read the third time and passed. 

Mr. Gwin submitted the following, which was considered by 
unanimous consent, and agreed to: 

"Ordered, That the addresses of Mr. Cass and Mr. Bell be en- 
tered on the joiuTial; that the resolution and the sword be taken 
to the House of Representatives by the Secretary, with a request 
that the House will concur in the said resolution.'* 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbe History 365 

in the house of representatives. 

Monday, February 26, 1855. 

"A message was received from the Senate, by Asbury Dickins, 
Esq., their Secretary, notifying the House that that body had 
passed a resolution accepting the sword of General Andrew 
Jackson, and returning the thanks of Congress to the family 
of General Robert Armstrong therefor. 

Mr. Smith, of Tennessee: 

"I ask that the House do now proceed to the consideration 
of the resolution just brought to us from the Senate." 

Mr. Staton, of Kentucky: 

'*As the ceremony of presentation is to be an interesting one 
and there are a great many ladies who desire to be present, and 
are unable to get in the galleries, I move that the rules be sus- 
pended, and that the ladies be admitted upon the floor on the 

The jnotion was agreed to; the doors were thrown open, and 
a large number of the ladies were admitted. 
The joint resolution was read as follows: 

"A Resolution to accept the sword of General Andrew Jackson, 
and rettuning the thanks of Congress to the family of the late 
General Robert Armstrong. 

''Resolved, That the thanks of this Congress be presented to 
the family of the late General Robert Armstrong, for the present 
of the sword worn by General Andrew Jackson while in the ser- 
vices of his country, and that this precious relic be hereby accepted 
in the name of the nation, and be deposited for safe-keeping in 
the Department of State, and that a copy of ftiis resolution be 
presented to the family of the late General Robert Armstrong.*' 

Mr. Smith, of Tennessee, rose and addressed the House as 
follows : 

"Mr. Speaker: In asking consideration of the resolution just 
read, justice to the occasion requires a few remarks from me, 
and I only regret that this responsibility had not devolved upon 
some one more capable than myself of performing so important 
a duty. 

"In all ages and in all countries it has been customary to com- 
memorate the deeds of illustrious men. Painting, poetry and 
sculpture have been brought into requisition to perpetuate the 
memory of their achievements, and to keep alive in the hearts of 
the yoimg, veneration for their ancestors and pride of country. 

"Every capitol in Christendom is adorned with monuments 

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366 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee .History 

erected to the brave and Wise who have, by counsel or deeds, 
given direction to the policy or illustrated the pages of their 
country's history. Their museums are filled with relics, which, 
from their intimate personal association with the gallant dead, 
ever keep vividly before the mind their public acts and private 
virtues. These teach lessons as impressive as towering monu- 
ments or glowing canvas. 

"Brief as our existence has been, the history of no nation on 
earth has been so fruitful of stirring incidents — incidents which 
have had an influence not only upon our own land, but upon the 
civilized world. The painter's art has adorned the walls of oiu- 
Capitol with representations of some of the most important of 
these events. Here we have the first grand scene of our Revo- 
lution, the Declaration of Independence, upon which nc» Ameri- 
can can look without experiencing feelings of the most ennobling 
character. The very features are preserved of the statesmen who 
proclaimed doctrines which startled the world from its long 
lethargic sleep, revived again the spirit of Sydney and of Hamp- 
den, and gave the first just conception of the true dignity and 
capacity of man. Their voices are all hushed in death, but the 
echo of the appeal of 1776 still lives, and is reverberating through- 
out the earth, making strong the arms and hearts of those who 
for their rights and liberties would proudly welcome death and 
the grave. 

**With what glowing pride do we look upon the battle-scenes 
here protrayed, battles fought, not to further the schemes of 
ambition, but in defense of freedom and universal humanity. 
No enslaved people have bewailed the triumphs of our warriors, 
but the whole earth has arisen and pronounced them blessed. 

"The battles and victories which the artist has here celebrated 
were still fresh and green in the memory of the people, when the 
nation was again c^ed to arms to vindicate its honor and the 
rights of man. Many of the leading spirits of the Revolution 
still lived. Upon some the palsjdng hand of time had been heavily 
laid; but in their hearts the love of country and the fires of pa- 
triotism still brightly burned. They urged the young to the 
conflict. The voice of Jefferson rang through the land, cheering 
the brave, nerving the arms of the timid, and giving hope and 
courage to the hearts of all. The warriors of the Revolution who 
still retained their vigor, buckled on their armor for the conflict. 
Conspicuous among, these were Van Rensselaer of New York, 
Smith of Maryland, and Jackson of Tennessee. Our country- 
men, under the lead of their gallant commanders, triiunphed 
upon the land and upon the sea, and established forever our rank 
among the nations of the earth. The actors in these scenes are 
fast passing away. But few of the gallant leaders in this glor- 
ious war still survive; and they are verging upon their three score 
and ten, and must soon be gathered to their fathers. Duty, 
gratitude, and patriotism should prompt us to collect trophies 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 367 

of their victories, and gamer up memorials which will speak to 
future generations of their greatness and patriotism, and which 
will keep the memory of their deeds of noble daring alive forever 
in the heart of the nation. 

**Not long before the death of that distinguished chieftain, 
Andrew Jacli^n, he placed the sword he had worn in all of his 
battles in the war of 1812 in the hands of a friend to be delivered 
to his compatriot in arms, the late General Robert Armstrong, 
who had in an eminent degree commanded his respect and enjoyed 
his confidence. These two lamented patriots had shared toge^er 
the hardships of the camp and the dangers of the battle-field; 
and the bestowal of this relic by the illustrious hero was a fit 
testimonal of his appreciation of one whose patriotism had often 
eUdted the warmest gratitude and highest applause of his coun- 

"It was at the battle of Enotochopco where the little army 
commanded by Jackson was almost surrounded by the enemy, 
and in the heat of the conflict General Armstrong was severely 
woimded. But he did not desert his post, and when unable 
longer to wield a sword or stand upon his feet; he clung to a small 
tree which stood near him and cried: *My brave fellows, some 
may fall, but save the cannon.' Such bravery elicited the 
thanks and gratitude of his commander, and made him the 
worthy recipient of the favorite weapon worn by him on that 
trying occasion. 

*'The family of General Armstrong, actuated by the patriotic 
impulses which ever characterized their sire, have placed this 
sword at the disposal of Congress. It seems to me eminently 
fit that it should become the property of the government, and 
be placedamong the trophies of our victories and the mementoes 
of our heroes; for it is associated with the names of two of the 
'bravest of the brave,' and with the battles the history of which 
will fill the brightest pages in our country's annals. 

"In moving the adoption of the resolution on yom* table 
accepting the sword, I do not feel called upon to pronounce an 
eulogy upon General Jackson. He needs it not. 'God blessed 
him with length of days, and he filled them with deeds of glory,* 
which have entered into the history of the nation, and become 
the heritage of his countrymen." 

Mr. ZoUicoffer, pf Tennessee : 

"Mr. Speaker: It being my fortune to represent the Her- 
mitage district where that great man lived, and where his remains 
are entombed, the House will pardon me for briefly giving utter- 
ance to emotions which fill me on this peculiar occasion. The 
martial renc»wn of Andrew Jackson has become national prop- 
erty. But it must be allowed to Tennesseans to feel more than 
an ordinary interest in that renown, and in this occasion. The 
brave-hearted, the world over, I apprehend, pay to his heroic 

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368 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnesseb History 

spirit their true homage; and I can well imagine that even the 
boldest, when treading the paths of danger, walk more erect 
and confident junder the broad sun-light of his chivalrous history; 
yet to those who were his neighbors when he tenanted the Her- 
mitage, and who inhabit the mountains and the valleys which 
sent forth the gallant men who followed and upheld •his standard 
in all his victories, men who saw this very sword unsheathed on 
all his brilhant and perilous battlefields, I say, sir, to such a 
people, something more than this feeling is but a common impulse 
of that human nature which we all readily comprehend. The 
sons of those gallant men are the present young men of Tennessee. 
As these young men catch a glimpse of this shining blade, passing 
into the depository of the nation's precious relics, how can it be 
otherwise than that their hearts will throb with quickened pulsa- 
tions of patriotic State and National pride? Rest assured, sir, 
that they feel, and must ever feel, a lofty and commendable 
State pride in the miUtary renown and unquestioned personal 
heroism of Andrew Jackson. I hesitate not to say, sir, that this 
feeling has contributed in no small degree to the full development 
of that chivalric sentiment which has ever characterized the 
volunteer troops of Tennessee when their country has demanded 
their services in the field. 

"Allow me to say, sir, that I, for near twenty years, have held 
a position of antagonism, more or less, to those who have claimed 
to be the especial poUtical friends of General Jackson, and in 
that State our contests have been sharp, animated, and con- 
tinuous, through that long period. I mention this merely by 
way of suggesting that the sentiments to which I have given 
utterance are expressed with more freedom from all imdue par- 
tiality or bias. They are sentiments such as I feel that'nc' native 
Tennessean, and I trust no citizen of any other State in our 
glorious confederacy, can fail cordially and heartily to respond to. 
They should be held in common by the whole American people; 
for this very sword, sir, gleamed over that memorable battlefield 
of which every citizen of the Union is so justly proud, and which 
has unquestionably given a more world-wide fame to American 
prowess than any other single battlefield which has ever emblaz- 
oned the bright annals of American warfare. Let the sword, 
sir, be preserved, and transmitted carefully to posterity. Let 
it be deposited along with the sword and camp-chest of Wash- 
ington, and the staff and printing-press of Franklin, among the 
most precious relics of a grateful country, preserved and cared for 
as high incentives to the honorable ambition of American youth, 
as long as liberty shall have a home, or the Union of these States 
an existence among the nations of the earth. 

"But, sir, I will here pause. I will not dwell upon a theme 
which has already been enlarged upon by others with so much 
more ability than I possess. I will trespass upon the valuable 
time of the House only for a moment longer. I cannot, in justice 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 369 

to my own feelings, withhold a brief allusion to General Robert 
Armstrong, from whose family this present is received. He was 
my neighbor and personal friend. The confidence which General 
Jackson, who knew him so long and so well, reposed in the ster- 
ling qufitlities of his heart and head, is itself a sufficient eulogy, 
requiring no aid from anything I can offer. I must, however, 
say that I held him to be one of the bravest, most magnanimous, 
and most truly kind-hearted men it was ever my good fortune 
personally to know. 

*'In conclusion, I need hardly add that I take it for granted 
the resolution will be sanctioned, not only unanimously, but with 
the most cheerful alacrity, by every American representative." 

Mr. Benton, of Missotu-i: 

"Mr. Speaker: The manner in which this sword has been 
used for the honor and benefit of the country is known to the 
world; the manner in which the privilege was obtained of so doing 
it is but little known, even to the living age, and must be lost to 
posterity tmless preserved by contemporaneous history. At the 
same time it is well worth Imowing, in order to show what diffi- 
culties talent may have to contend with, what mistakes govern- 
ments may commit, and upon what chances and accidents it 
may depend that the greatest talent and the piu-est patriotism 
may be able to get into the service of its country. There is a 
moral in such history which it may be instructive to governments 
and to people to learn. When a warrior or a statesman is seen, 
in the midst of his career and the fulness of his glory, showing 
himself to be in his natural place, people overlook his previous 
steps and suppose he had been called by a general voice, by wise 
councils, to the fulfilment of a natural destiny. In a few instances 
it is so; in the greater part, not. In the greater part there is a 
toilsome, uncertain, discouraging, and mortifying progress to be 
gone through before the futiu-e resplendent man is able to get 
on the theatre which is to give him the use of his talent. So it 
was with Jackson. He had his difficulties to surmount, and sur- 
moimted them. He conquered savage tribes and the conquerors 
of EiU"ope; but he had to conquer his own government first, and 
did it, and that was for him the most difficult of the two; for, 
while his military victories were the* regular result of a genius 
for war and brave troops to execute his plans, enabling him to 
command success, his civil victory over his own government was 
the result of chances and accidents, and the contrivances of others, 
in which he could have but little hand and no control. I proceed 
to give some view of this inside and preliminary history, and have 
some qualifications for the task, having taken some part, though 
not great, in all that I relate. 

**Retired from the United States Senate, of which he had 
been a member, and from the supreme judicial bench of his State, 
on which had sat as judge, this future warrior and President, 

24— vol.2 

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370 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbb Hist(»y 

and alike illustrious in both characters, was living upon his farm 
on the banks of the Cumberland, when the war of 1812 broke out. 
He was a major general in the Tennessee miUtia, the only place 
he would continue to hold, and to which he had been elected by 
the contigency of one vote, so close was the chance for a miss in 
this first step. His friends beUeved that he had military genius, 
and proposed him for the brigadier's appointment which was 
allotted to the West. That appointment was given to another, 
and Jackson remained unnoticed on his farm. Soon another 
appointment of general was allotted to the West. Jackson was 
proposed again; and was left again to attend to his farm. Then 
a t^tch of generals, as they were called, was authorized by law, 
six at a time, and from all parts of the Union; and then his friends 
believed that siu-ely his time had come. Not so the fact. The six 
appointments went elsewhere, and the hero patriot, who was bom 
to lead armies to victory, was left still to the care of his fields, 
while incompetent men were leading our troops to defeat, to cap- 
tivity, to slaughter; for that is the way the war opened. The 
door to military service seemed to be closed and bsured against 
him; and was so, so far as the government was concerned. 

**It may be wondered why this repugnance to the appointment 
of Jackson, who, though not yet greatly distinguished, was still 
a man of mark, had been a senator and a supreme judge, and 
was still a major general, and a man of tried and heroic courage. 
I can tell the reason. He had a great many home enemies, for 
he was a man of decided temper; had a great many contests, 
no compromises; always went for a clean victory or a clean defeat, 
though placable after the contest was over. That was one reason, 
but not the main one. The administration had a prejudice 
against him on account of Colonel Bmr, with whom he had been 
associated in the American Senate, and to whom he gave a hos- 
pitable reception in his house at the time of his Western expe- 
dition, relying upon his assurance that his designs were against 
the Spanish dominion in Mexico, and not against the integrity 
of this Union. These were some of the causes, not all, of Jack- 
son's rejection from Federal military employment. 

*'I was yoimg then, and one of his aids, and believed in his 
military talent and patriotism; and was greatly attached to him, 
and was grieved and vexed to see him passed by when so much 
incompetence was preferred. Besides, I was to go with him, 
and his appointment would be partly my own. I was vexed, 
as were all his friends; but I did not despair, as most of them did. 
I turned from the government to oiu-selves, to our own resoiu-ces, 
and looked to the chapter of accidents to tiun up a chance for 
incidental employment, confident that he would do the rest for 
himself if he could only get a start. I was in this mood in my 
office, as a young lawyer, with more books than briefs, when the 
tardy mail of that time, one *raw and gusty day' in February, 
1812, brought an act of Congress authorizing the President to 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssgb History 371 

accept organized bodies of volunteers to the extent of fifty thous- 
and, to serve for one year, and to be called into service when some 
emergency shotdd require it. Here was a chance. I knew that 
Jack^n cotild raise a general's command, and I trusted to events 
for him to be called out, and felt that one year was more than 
enough for him to prove himself. I drew up a plan, rode thirty 
miles to his house that same raw day in February, rain, hail, 
sleet, wind, and such roads as we then had there in winter, deep 
in rich mud and mixed with ice. I arrived at the Hermitage, 
a name then but little known, at nightfall, and found him soli- 
tary, and almost alone, but not quite; for it was the evening 
mentioned in the 'Thirty Years View,' when I found him with 
the lamb and the child between his knees. I laid the plan before 
him. He was struck with it, adopted it, acted upon it. We 
began to raise volunteer companies. Whikt this was going on, 
an order arrived from the War Department to the Governor 
(WilHe Blount) to detach fifteen himdred militia to the Lower 
Mississippi; the object to meet the British, then expected to 
make an attempt on New Orleans. The Governor was a friend 
to Jackson and to his coimtry. He agreed to accept his three 
thousand volimteers instead of the fifteen hundred draughted 
militia. The General issued an address to his division. I gal- 
loped to the muster-grounds and harangued the yoimg men. 
The success was ample. Three regiments were completed, 
Cofifee, WilUams, Hall, Benton, the colonels, and in December, 

1812, we descended the Cumberland and the Mississippi in a 
fleet of flat-bottomed boats, and landed at Natchez. There 
we got the news that the British would not come that winter, a 
great disappointment, and a fine chance lost. 

**We remained in camp, six miles from Natchez, waiting 
ulterior orders. In March they came, not orders for further ser- 
vice, or even to return home, but to disband the volunteers as 
they were. The command was positive, in the name of the 
President, and by the then Secretary at War, General Armstong. 
I well remember the day, Sunday morning, the 25th day of March, 

1813. The first I knew of it was a message from the General 
to come to him at his tent ; for though, as a colonel of a regiment, 
I had ceased to be aid, yet my place had not been filled, and I 
was sent for as much as ever. He showed me the order, and also 
his character, in his instant determination not to obey it, but 
to lead his volimteers home. He had sketched a severe answer 
to the Secretary, and gave it to me to copy and arrange the matter 
of it. It was very severe. I tried hard to get some parts softened, 
but impossible. I have never seen that letter since, but would 
know it if I should meet it in any form, anywhere, without any 
names. I concurred with the General in the determination to 
take home our yoimg troops. He then called a 'council' of the 
field officers, as he called it; though there was but Uttle of the 
cotmcil in it, the only object to hear his determination and take 

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372 Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 

meastires for executing it. The officers were unanimous in their 
determination to support him; but it was one of those cases in 
which he would have acted not only without, but against a 

**The officers were imanimous and vehement in their determ- 
ination, as much so as the General himself; for the volimteers were 
composed of the best yoimg men of the country, farmers* sons, 
themselves clever young men, since filling high offices in the State 
and the Federal Government, intrusted to these officers by their fa- 
thers, in full confidence that they would act a father's part by them ; 
and the recreant thought of tinning them loose on the Lower Mis- 
sissippi, five himdred miles from home, without means of getting 
home, and a wilderness and Indian tribes to traverse, did not find 
a moment's thought in any ones bosom. To carry them back was 
the instant and indignant determination; but great difficulties 
were in the way. The cost of getting back three thousand men 
tmder such circumstances must be great; and here Jackson's 
character showed itself again. We have all heard of his respon- 
sibilities, his readiness to assume political responsibility when the 
public service required it. He was now equally ready to take 
responsibility of another kind, moneyed responsibility, and that 
beyond the whole extent of his fortune! He had no military 
chest, not a dollar of public money; and three thousand men were 
not to be conducted five hundred miles through a wilderness 
country and Indian tribes without a great outlay of money. Wag- 
ons were wanted, and many of them, for transport of provisions, 
baggage, and the sick, so numerous among new troops. He had 
no money to hire teams; he impressed, and at the end of the ser- 
vice gave drafts upon the quartermaster general of the Southern 
department (General Wilkinson's) for the amount. The wagons 
were ten dollars a day, coming and going. They were numerous. 
It was a service of two months; the amount to be incurred was 
great. He incurred it, and, as will be seen, at imminent risk of 
his own ruin. This assumption on the General's part met the first 
great difficulty; but there were lesser difficulties, still serious, to be 
simnounted. The troops had received no pay; clothes and shoes 
were worn out ; the men were in no condition for a march so long 
and so exposed. The officers had received no pay; did not expect 
to need money; had made no provision for the unexpected con- 
tingency of large demands upon their own pockets to enable them 
to do justice to their men. But there was patriotism outside of 
the camp as well as within. The merchants of Natchez put 
their stores at oiu* disposition; take what we needed; pay when 
convenient, at Nashville. I will name one among these patriotic 
merchants, name him because he belongs to a class now struck at, 
and because I do not ignore a friend when he is struck. Washing- 
ton Jackson was the one I mean, Irish by birth, American by choice, 
by law and feeling and conduct. I took some hundred pairs of 
shoes from him for my regiment, and other articles, and I pro- 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 373 

claim it here — that patriotic men of foreign birth may see that 
there are plenty of Americans to recogize their merit, to name 
them with honor in high places, and to give them the right hand 
of friendship when they are struck at. 

**We all returned, were discharged, dispersed among our homes, 
and the fine chance on which we had so much counted was all 
gone. And now came a blow upon Jackson himself, the fruit of 
the moneyed responsibility which he had assumed. His trans- 
portation drafts were all protested; returned upon him for 
payment, which was impossible, and with directions to bring 
suit. This was the month of May. I was coming on to 
Washington on my own account, and cordially took charge of 
Jackson's case. Suits were delayed imtil the result of his appli- 
cation for relief could be heard. I arrived in this city; Congress 
was in session, the extra session of the spring and summer of 1813. 
I applied to the members of Congress from Tennessee; they cotdd 
do nothing. I applied to the Secretary at War; he did nothing. 
Weeks had passed away, and the time for delay was expiring at 
Nashville. Ruin seemed to be hovering over the head of Jackson, 
and I felt the necessity of some decisive movement. I was yoimg 
then and had some material in me, perhaps some boldness, and 
the occasion brought it out. I resolved to take a step, charac- 
terized in the letter which I wrote to the General as *an appeal 
from the justice to the fears of the Administration.' I remember 
the words, though I have never seen the letter since. I drew up a 
memoir addressed to the Secretary at War, representing to him 
that these volunteers were drawn from the bosoms of almost every 
substantial family in Tennessee; that the whole State stood by 
Jackson in bringing them home, and that the State would be lost 
to the Administration if he was left to sufifer. It was upon this 
last argument that I felied, all those founded in justice having 
failed. It was of a Saturday morning, 12th of Jime, that I carried 
this memoir to the War Office and delivered it. Monday morning 
I came back early to learn the result of my argument. The Secre- 
tary was not yet in. I spoke to the chief clerk (then the after- 
wards Adjutant General Parker), and inquired if the Secretary 
had left any answer for me before he left the office on Saturday. 
He said no; but that he had put the memoir in his inside pocket, 
the breast pocket, and carried it home with him, saying he would 
take it for his Sunday's consideration. That encoiu-aged me, 
gave me a gleam of hope and a feeling of satisfaction. I thought 
it a good subject for his Simday's meditation. Presently he ar- 
rived. I stepped in before anybody to his office. He told me 
quickly and kindly that there was much reason in what I had said, 
but that there was no way for him to do it ; that Congress wotdd 
have to give reUef. I answered him that I thought there was a 
way for him to do it; it was to give an order to General Wilkinson's 
quartermaster general in the Southern department to pay for so 
much transportation as General Jackson's command would have 

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374 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbsseb History 

been entitled to if it had retimied under regular orders. Upon 
the instant he took up a pen, wrote down the very words I had 
spoken, directed a clerk to put them into form; and the work was 
done. The order went ofif immediately and Jackson was relieved 
from imminent impending ruin, and Tennessee remained firm to 
the Administration. 

**Thus the case of responsibility was over, but the original 
cause of our concern was still in ftill force. Jackson was again on 
his farm, unemployed, and the fine chance gone which had flat- 
tered us so much. But the chapter of accidents soon presented 
another, not so brilliant as New Orleans had promised, and after- 
wards realized, but sufficient for the purpose. The massacre at 
Fort Mimms took place. The banks of the Mobile river smoked 
with fire and blood. Jackson called up his voltmteers, reinforced 
by militia, marched to the Creek nation, and there commenced 
that career of victories which soon extorted the commission which 
had been so long denied to his merit, and which ended in filling 
the 'measiu-e* of his own and *his country's glory.* And that, Mr. 
Chairman, was the way in which this great man gained the priv- 
ilege of using that sword for his country, which, after triumphing 
in many fields which it immortalized, has come here to repose in 
the hands of the representatives of a great and admiring coimtry." 

The resolution was ordered to be read a third time, and being 
read a third time, it was unanimously passed. 

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From illutlmtion in Mettag* of Pretidont Roooovelt on Porosis, Rivers tnd Mountains of Southorn 
Appoloehion Region. 

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Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History 375 

i'HiVSi^»VS>VwV«SVg 5g5 ?g?S^^ 


Andrew Jackson — ^Two Administrations as Presi- 
dent — ^Will, Sarcophagus and Death. 

The ugly red-headed Scotch-Irish boy who had been struck 
on the head by a British officer for not blacking his boots; whose 
poverty at his birth and for years afterwards was painful and 
pitiable; who did not know, and could not ascertain after search, 
the burial place of his mother; and whose outlook on life in his 
early days was about as desolate as human destiny could possibly 
appear, now entered upon two terms of four years each as Presi- 
dent of the United States, during which he was to center in him- 
self poHtical power and a control of the destinies of the American 
people, that was marvelous and stupendous; and he was to do 
that which pubUc officials rarely accomplish — he was to go out 
of office about as popular and acceptable to the people as when 
he entered it. 

It is impossible here to review in detail Jackson's presidential 
terms. Volume after volume have been written on the subject. 
James Parton, who wrote his *'Life of Jackson** about fourteen 
years after Old Hickory's death, devoted some two thousand 
pages to his life, of which approximately five hundred pages 
covered his two administrations. These two administrations 
were periods of furious and astounding pohtics, probably the 
most so in our history. Jackson placated no enemies and never 
liked to compromise; as Thomas H. Benton said of him, he went 
in for a clean victory or a clean defeat. When all is said and 
done it is safe to say that posterity's most serious charge against 
him is the spoils system, but even that has not had the effect of 
darkening his fame. There are thousands of men in the United 
States to-day, in this era of Civil Service Reform, who hold to 
the doctrine that when a man is to be held responsible as the 
head of the Executive Department of a government, it is only 
right that men of his way of thinking, friendly to his plans and 
purposes, should hold office under him. 

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376 Andrew Jackson and Early Tbnnbssbs History 

After a President is sworn in his next step is to announce 
his Cabinet, and General Jackson sent to the Senate the list of 
men whom he wanted at the head of the various Departments. 
Martin Van Biu-en, of New Yoi;k, became Secretary of State; 
Samuel D. Ingham of Pennsylvania, Secretary of the Treasury; 
John H. Eaton, Senator from Tennessee, Secretary of War; 
John Branch of North Carolina, Secretary of the Navy; John M. 
Berrien of Georgia, Attorney General; and WiUiam T. Barry of 
Kentucky, Postmaster General. Major Andrew Jackson Donel- 
son was appointed Private Secretary, and Major W. B. Lewis 
was invited to take up his quarters and live at the White House 
as personal friend and adviser of the President. Major Lewis 
was a brother-in-law to John H. Eaton, Secretary of War. Amos 
Kendall was appointed Fourth Auditor of the Treasury, and was 
credited, together with General Duflf Green, Major Lewis, and 
Isaac Hill of New Hampshire, with constituting the Kitchen 
Cabinet. General Jackson at all times diuing his administra- 
tions, and, in fact, throughout his entire life, clung to personal 
friends with an affection and a devotion that were wonderful,